Ancestors: Legacy and lessons

Letter A: The first of twenty-six posts in the April 2016 Blogging From A to Z Challenge. Wish me luck and please join me on the journey!

Aug. 2014: Union encampment on Governors Island, N.Y.
Aug. 2014: Union encampment on Governors Island, N.Y. Ancestors like my gg grandfather, a Union Army soldier during the U.S. Civil War, connect us to great events. Photo: Molly Charboneau

Ancestors have lessons to teach us. Although they may have lived generations, decades or even centuries ago, their path through history leads down to us.

They connect us to great events; to past economic and political developments; and to the life of the areas, towns, cities and countries where they lived.

My great, great grandfather Arthur Bull is one example. He served in the Union Army during the U.S. Civil War and probably voted at the front in 1864, when President Abraham Lincoln was re-elected — connecting his descendants to these great events.

Arthur was also hospitalized several times for war-related illness, but he played his part in a historic conflict that changed the country forever, leaving a legacy for future generations. He also survived to become the father of many children — among them my great grandmother Eva, who was born the year after he returned from the war.

Do you have ancestors who inspire you? Have you thought about researching their history?  What about writing their stories?

Follow along and see if you feel inspired to tell your ancestors’ stories as we learn about my blacksmith ancestor from Ireland in tomorrow’s post.

© 2016 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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6 thoughts on “Ancestors: Legacy and lessons”

  1. I absolutely love your para “they connect us….”. A woman after my own heart. I’ll be following your blog. Mine is a “how to” for family history research.

    Pauleen from Family History Across the Seas
    A to Z 2016

    1. Thanks for visiting, Pauleen. I was very taken with your blog and intend to follow you through the A to Z 2016. You have a wonderful flair for capturing the emotional essence of the search!

  2. Hi Molly, love the way you have linked to posts with more information on your great, great grandfather Arthur Bull. Looking forward to your next installment in the A to Z challenge. Fran

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Fran. I decided to use the links to expand his story while keeping the A to Z challenge post shorter, since there is so much else to write! Hope to see you here again as the month rolls on.

  3. That’s really very interesting. So little is known about my ancestors. My parents both told stories about their immediate families but never further back. I spent a little time trying to do some research but never found much.

    I am now the curator or box after box of photos that no one ever labeled. It would be nice to know more.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Zazzy. My advice would be to write down all the ancestral names you have — grandparents, aunts, uncles — into a draft family tree, then see if you can find any of them in a census to get you started. That could give you a time frame to at least divide the photos by era. Always tough when they aren’t labeled. Check out detective Maureen Taylor’s column, blog and books for tips on identifying people in old photos. And gook luck!

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