My Great Aunt Faye was interested in our Adams family history and had done extensive research. I got interested and helped her trace our family history a little further studying census, church and other records. Overall it was a worthwhile experience that more people should explore.
One shocking thing I learned from census records is that our forefathers listed slaves as property. It is normally easy to discover if your direct ancestors owned slaves or if they elected to do their own hard work standing for higher principles. I am proud that none of my direct ancestors owned slaves. Slavery in its ugly form becomes apparent in census records.
Church records also stunned me. It is not easy to find, but one record stated that some of our Christian ancestors in wagon trails or in a new village would expel females who had a miscarriage into the wilderness. Their strong beliefs in the value of human life led them to believe they should ostracize any female who had a miscarriage as if they had done something wrong. So, these women who were no doubt traumatized by the loss of their child during miscarriage were also faced with being sent out alone into the wilderness all alone. I suspect some of these women fell prey to the weather, animals or Indians. It reminds me of the 1970’s when some Christians would shoot and kill physicians who left offices who conducted abortions. Taking a life to preserve life or to punish those who were not to blame for a loss of life doesn’t seem to conform with Church doctrine.
Many people wonder if they have Indian ancestors. As they ponder if their high cheek bones indicate they have Indian ancestry, they should be aware that the history of how that happened may not have been pleasant. But it is a rewarding experience to research family history which makes history come alive and it expands your perception.