Last summer, my two sisters and I did a 22 day genealogy odyssey. The main purpose of our trip was to try to find some clues and answers to our Hunter family genealogy. We crossed state lines 17 times and saw beautiful country and many small towns and areas were our ancestors settled and then packed up and moved on. We saw lots of cemeteries and searched through a few of them. We visited small libraries and even smaller local genealogical societies. We met wonderful, helpful people that provided us with lots of information. We got lost several times, visited historic sites, quilt shops, and we laughed a lot.
We didn’t find the answers to all of our questions. We still don’t know the maiden name of James Overton Hunter’s second wife. We didn’t find missing birth, marriage and death dates, well maybe a couple of them. We didn’t find any photos of our direct ancestors and we didn’t find all of the graves.
This is what we did find:
- Our Hunter ancestors were hard working, very religious, and brave farmers. They were for the most part, illiterate or at least very private. (That translates to “few written records”.) But in every community they lived in,we they were the family that built at least one of the churches in that area.
- The men usually outlived the wives, so there were multiple marriages and many children.
- We found out that our 5th great-grandfather lived to be 102 years old. He was a second generation American that never learned to speak English until he ran away from home when he was 14 years old and found work with a Revolutionary War veteran named Captain Wood.
- We found that for the most part, our southern family (direct line) did not fight in the Civil War for either side. And that our ancestor Peter (Yeager) Hunter worked as an overseer in his younger days, he, nor the rest of the family, didn’t have slaves.
- We learned when new areas opened up for settling, they would pack up and move on, always searching for a better place with more future.
As we drove through the lush green areas in Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Alabama and East Texas, we felt their love of the land and the spirit of pioneering. We realized why our Dad and his father had such a talent for planting and growing things, even though neither were farmers.
We learned lots of things about our family, brought home interesting stories to add to our genealogy files, and we definitely grew closer to our paternal side of the family.