Thursday, March 12, 2009

Unlikely location for a bit of History

This past Monday I was reading on the Reuters website to learn more about the current market environment when I came across an interesting article written by JoAnne Allen titled: "Museum finds "secret" message in Lincoln's watch". I was intrigued and began reading the article. The article discussed that a recent discovery by the Natural Museum of American History revealed that an inscription by the watchmaker dated April 13, 1861 was loacted on the back of President Lincoln's watch. The inscription states: "Fort Sumpter was attacked by the rebels; thank God we have a government."

This made me contemplate the various avenues we take to increase our knowledge and understanding regarding our ancestors. We frequently look in the census, land, and vital records. These types of records provide the statistical data regarding one's life. How can we learn about the individual on a more personal level. How can we learn about the "dash" between the birth and death dates of our loved ones. Our knowledge about our ancestors can be enhanced from heirlooms or other artifacts from their lives. These items can help us to fill in some of the missing blanks of our past loved ones, providing insights into their likes and dislikes. You can also learn more about your ancestor by learning about the environment in which they lived including their neighbors, religious and community groups in which they participated.

Family History can be found in unique places as in the example of Lincoln's watch. Once you have the back bone of an ancestors information, don't forget to put the meat on by gathering information about who they really were by collecting pictures and stories. You might be surprised with new information after searching out information on your ancestors neighbors and/or associates. Who know, you could come across your ancestors being mentioned in a neighbors diary, family bible or as in the case of the President Lincoln, in the back of his watch. You find out about President Lincoln by the type of watch he had and also learn information about the watchmaker. If you would like to learn more about how the inscription ended up on the back of President Lincoln's watch, click Museum finds secret message in Lincoln's Watch. I would encourage you to read the article. It is very interesting.
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