Some of you know I dabble in ancestry for my family. It is interesting, addicting, and totally frustrating. There are days I can’t put it down and work into the early hours of the morning trying to find just one more tidbit of information about that illusive person. There are other days when I want to throw the whole thing in the corner and forget about it all. Days when it matters and other days when I’m not so sure any of this really matters… after all what will it change if I find more information on ancestors that I never knew or don’t remember knowing… Does it really matter?
There is one man… my great grandfather…William Henry Moore… whom I cannot get beyond. The “original” William H. Moore came from out west. He was born in Montgomery County, Virginia on March 10, 1868. He seems to hide behind a tree for several years. An article appearing in the Stuart paper (submitted by Helen Moore Gwynn) says he was thought to be a runaway – living with a Padgett family in Stuart or boarded out to a family. From then he doesn’t reappear until he is getting married to Mary Elizabeth Goad in Stuart, Va on the 20th of March 1889. In the 1900 census he is living in Stuart, Va, but by 1920 the census reveals him living in the Dan River area of Virginia. 1930 finds him in Madison, NC living there until his death on February 07, 1944. He seems to be a rather talented person. In one census he was a teamster. In another a grocer, and in several a farmer and/or mill worker (I imagine at the old Washington Mills plant in Mayodan). Seems like most people, even children, worked in that place.
The curious thing is that his mother, Margaret is the only parent whose name is ever given and it’s only on the 1889 wedding license. There is never a mention of William Henry’s father. William has brothers named Ben and John and a sister named Louise. His children are: James Thomas, Minnie Rose, Sarah Alice, Edna, Andrew Taylor (all born in Patrick Co. Va.) Even curiouser is that on his death certificate in the place where it asks for the parents names, we see in large printed writing the words “NOT KNOWN.” The curious thing is that his son, Andrew Taylor Moore is the one giving this information. I can’t comprehend a son, this son – a very responsible man, not knowing his grandparent’s names… especially on a legal document.
I finish every session with the same question… “Where are you William Henry Moore… and Whose Your Daddy?” I think this dad is the key to getting our ancestry line across the Atlantic to England. I know the Moores are from England and his dad just may be the one on the boat. I am not sure why getting our ancestry back to England seems so important to me. Could it be that I have heard the old stories circulating for years that our family was landowners and royalty in England. Shortly after the turn of the century (the last one) a letter arrived informing us that a will from a Moore’s ancestor was to be probated. Our family could not get over there to handle it but a local lawyer, who found out about this, volunteered to handle it for us since he was making a trip to England anyway. Returning back in the states we were informed that there was nothing left in the estate for our family. Nothing more was said and the matter was forgotten. But the lawyer built a huge house in town not long after returning from England. Just sounds intriguing to me?
Have you ever dreamed that somewhere in your past was a rich, wealthy or notable person whose life, fortune or fame could benefit your family today and relieve any hardship. Wouldn’t that be great? Almost sounds like winning the lottery.
Well, even though it would be wonderful to win the lottery – think of all the good we could do? But more importantly it would be very nice to find my great grandfather, his dad and mom and what that might mean to finding out a little more about our family history. They say that we stop doing ancestry when our family tree produces a king or and horse thief. Well, I haven’t found either nor am I looking for them. But I am seeking to find my history… my roots.
The real family history… the one of real significance is one I already know. I am a child of God through the love of God and the grace of Jesus Christ. I belong to the family of God because I have a Father who loves me so much he reestablished bonds of the family and opened the gates to all of God’s children. I hope you know, as you search for your ancestors, that you have a family that includes all kinds of people from all kinds of places. We are all brothers and sisters… we are family.
Grace and Peace