Genealogy Introduction

Ancestral Witt land in Nelson County, Virginia
April 2, 2000

I became interested in genealogy in 1990, following the death of my uncle who was the unofficial "historian" of our family. Uncle J.D. just always seemed to know who everyone was and how they were related, whereas I couldn’t even figure out why some people showed up at family reunions each year!

But Uncle J.D.’s passing—and the subsequent sale of our homeplace—had a profound impact on me, and I realized that an awful lot of information would be lost unless someone took the time to write it down. It seemed like a simple enough task—just recording who we were, our names, birthdates, etc.—and I had no idea (at the onset) that I would become deeply involved in the attempt to push lines farther and farther back through time.

My interest in history grew as I started to pursue this. Suddenly I was seeing historical events through the eyes of my ancestors—people I was starting to "know." As I was helping to clean out our homeplace prior to its sale, I found a trunk full of old letters and personal items that had belonged to my great-grandmother—a woman who’d been born 100 years before me and who had died in the 1940s.

Reading her letters, looking through her purse (which contained, among other things, baby teeth!), seeing her pictures, seeing her grave—all these things made me realize that I was part of something that stretched back—a hundred years, two hundred years, three hundred years….

I wanted to know; at times I’ve HAD to know. Who were they? How did they live? What historical events did they witness? How could they have possibly dealt with the loss of so many children? And so I began, in earnest, to search, to explore, to network, and to communicate.

I've included what I've found, to date, in the "Reports, Wills, Deeds, and Photos section. Please feel free to use the onsite search engine to look for surnames that may be included in various documents. And please let me know if you make a connection!

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