A new year always suggests a fresh start, even though in many ways we are just continuing on the path that we started days or weeks or months or years before.
“Beginnings” is the prompt for week one of Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge, 2021.
Her prompts are intentionally designed to allow for multiple interpretations. If you do any family history research, or are simply interested in preserving some of your own memories for future generations, do considering joining in. You don’t have to publish on a blog, as I’ve been doing for the past year. You can save your notes in a computer file. Write them longhand in a notebook. Type an email and distribute to children, grandchildren, siblings, cousins – and let them decide how to preserve them. Getting started is the key.
Many of my ancestors made a fresh start or two. My great-great grandfather William Fredrich Hahn came to the United States from Germany when he was around 13 years old. Approximately six years later, he moved from wherever he lived before to Escambia County, Florida. Records are scarce, so I don’t know what led him to make those moves. He had some success in Escambia County, though. He married my great-great-grandmother Ary Loper, and they had five children. He received two patents on his inventions, though I don’t think they made him any money, or at least not enough to be noteworthy.
William F. Hahn’s grandson Theodore Hahn married Maggie Cooper. Her Cooper ancestors moved from South Carolina to Georgia, and then a few years later to Alabama, when it was still a new state. It wasn’t exactly uncharted territory; they settled in Baldwin County, which had been explored by Spanish and French colonists more than a hundred years before Alabama became a state. It must have been equally exciting and terrifying to head into the unknown.
My great-great-great-great grandfather on my mom’s side, George Cook, got a fresh start after the War of 1812. Born in South Carolina, he got married and settled in Georgia. I’m still trying to figure out who his parents were, and what became of all his children.
I certainly hope to learn more about all these branches of my family this year, and I’m working on my husband’s family tree as well. When it comes to research, every day is a new beginning and a chance to add a little more information to book of our families’ origins.
For me, this post is the beginning of 52 more weeks of exploring and sharing family stories, histories, and records.