Looking Into The Past

One of the fun things I do is trace  family roots, not just to get the names on a chart, but to find out what I can about individuals and communities and the world they were a part of. Some of the "roots" are my own; quite a few are my wife's (her ancestors were much more interesting than mine); and others involve other lines I got interested in for one reason or another.

But what does it matter; or, to put it as a friend once asked me, what good is history? What's done is done, right? We've all heard the saying that those who don't learn from history are destined to repeat it. It's true: there are things to be learned from history, things that might prompt us to do things differently [or perhaps the same] the next time around. Looking back on events is a lot easier than trying to sort out the issues of today. Getting to know an ancestor or two well enough to look at events through their eyes may give us an entirely different perspective on past events - in essence, giving us some personal stake in truly understanding an issue, an event, or a belief. What was it like to be a non-Puritan in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, or a Loyalist during the American Revolution? Had you lived in England or Northern Ireland around 1760, would you have taken advantage of the expulsion of the Acadians from Nova Scotia to get the quality farmland that they had developed and were suddenly displaced from? Why was your great-great- grandfather on the side of the South [or the North] during the American Civil War? You might be surprised, and you might find something quite different than what you read in your high school history book.

Beyond the practical, I derive a great deal of pleasure from "finding out things." On these pages, I hope to share some of that pleasure - and you may find something practical, too. If you see something that looks interesting, and you want more information, please feel free to contact me.

You'll find three types of webpages linked here: essays, written mostly just to amuse myself, and to make "history" more personal; bibliographies of various families (so, maybe you don't have to start from scratch with your family research); and "genealogies." Some of these relate to my or Sally's family, but a lot are just compilations of information I accumulated while I was looking for something else.

Just a word about the quality of data in that last category: almost everything is a "work in progress;" I don't write anything that is clearly incorrect, and I try to give good references for all my "facts," but remember to note when I report that I am speculating or when I say I am reporting what is "probably" true. I've also presented a lot of unanalyzed information, hoping that it will be of use to some other genealogists, or that it will prompt someone to write me with some better information. I update the pages as I get new or better info, but sometimes it takes me awhile.


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© Sanford Wilbur 2021