By Jeannette Holland Austin
Freedom is a precious heritage won by our Ancestors! But do we really know ourselves? The clues lie within our own DNA. Because, you see, we are a composite of them. The way that we think, our appearance, spiritual beliefs and inclinations, all of this is a DNA assemblage of the puzzle of us. To learn some answers about ourselves we must look into the past. Yes, into the lives of those who brought us to this time and place. Discovering our roots is not only fun, but surprisingly delightful. The lineage doubles every generation (into the past), which makes for an unlimited resource of ancestors who were part of the histories which we study today. For example, it is easy to trace the lineage back to a Revolutionary War Soldier. Gosh! The pension itself is loaded with information about the battles they fought and famous officers they served with. You just don't know how this goes, until you read the pension. Then, there are the Civil War Pensions. Of course, the old wills, estates, deeds, tax digests really open the puzzle to a wonderfully new perspective. The old script used is beautifully executed with a quill and india ink. Some of these documents are simply worth framing!
The census records are not enough. To find ancestors, one must also research county records where your ancestors resided or where you thought they were. This is a must! For one thing, the records, such as wills, estates, marriages, inventories, sales, guardianships will provide names of heirs. Additionally, the tiny details which lead to the next source. For example, in the estate of Henry Holland of Jasper County, an Annual Return made by the administrator revealed a letter sent to Holland, Virginia. From there, it was easy to find this place as the family seat. Another resource are receipts from heirs sometimes found in the estates, including husbands of the daughters. Of course, if you look in the marriage records, that is where the marriage was recorded with the name and full date of the record. The 8 genealogy websites contain county records easy to view online! First, become a member, then view/print/download your ancestor's old will or estate. It is really cool!
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More information concerning early settlers to Virginia, their adventures and origins, is found under "Origins" and available to members of Virginia Pioneers