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AfriGeneas Helpdesk
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by AfriGeneas.
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Genealogy is a Mission: Fantastic Lives and Stories to Discover

The one thing about life is that we all live it in a unique way. No matter how common our experiences are, because we are individuals, we will all live a common experience in a way that is different form the next man. Flushing out the unique versus the common for your ancestor is part of the search and the fun.

For example, your ancestor might have fought in the United States Colored Troops during the Civil War. Well one thing is that you probably donít know it yet. But once you find out, then you might say to yourself, what was unique about that? So did 180,000 other soldiers and for that matter so did all the other soldiers who fought on the Confederate and Union Sides. Thatís the common part. They were all soldiers and the records bear out that they served in a particular unit and a particular company at a particular place and time.

The unique part about your ancestorís experience might be: (1) he had to escape from slavery before joining the USCT or (2) even more complicated, he had to accompany his Confederate slaveowner to the war from whence he escaped or (3) after the war, he left Tennessee and wound up out West in Kansas. So the records can tell you a story beyond the mere statement of fact. This is where the fun is. Your keen sense of all the possibilities of what can happen to people will help you track that ancestor in the records and tell his or her story. Indeed, there are stories to be told and experiences to resurrect, some of which are important for African American history.


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