When I first began my journey into the world of family genealogy, I had no concept of the challenges and joys that would come from researching the history of my ancestors. I discovered it is like a big puzzle. Sometimes, the pieces fit together easily while, at other times, it is a tedious struggle just sifting through census data and documents on the Internet and at local libraries trying to find the all important middle inital of ancestors with names like Margaret, William, Mary, or other names so common in our nation's early history. I have spent hours discovering that sometimes the first name is given in materials, at other times the middle name is given, and , sometimes, the name is given as a first and middle initial. I have discovered the inconsistencies of surnames that have been spelled differently during different periods of time, that u's are sometimes v's, and that handwriting on older original censuses is often difficult to read because it is worn by age. I have had to deal with ghost figures in my family history who seem to have just disappeared from time and place or never seem to have existed at all. At times, doing research has its moments of hitting a brick wall and then trying to cut through the brick wall with a plastic knife. Yet, the jewels of discovery have far outweighed the difficulties and challenges. To discover that my mother, Virginia Bowman Duffey's, family originally came to North Carolina from Pennsylvania on the Great Wagon Train in the 1700s and was one of the original founding families in Western North Carolina and of the United States of America was an amazing and humbling discovery. Through my research I have come to the dramatic realization that each person in my ancestry is more than just a name on a sheet of paper. These individuals were real people with real lives who experienced all of the joys and tragedies that come with the human experience. They laughed, cried, and endured the unexpected loss of those dear to their hearts. Some individuals faced the challenges of life with great faith in God, strength, and fortitude, while others let the challenges destroy them. During my quest of discovery, I began to see these people as the true pioneers that they really were. How many of us would be willing to risk our lives leaving homes and families in Europe to face the dangers of crossing the Atlantic to forge new lives in a wild and new land? Daniel Baumann did this in 1751 when he left Grunwetterbach, Wurttemberg, Germany with his wife and children and sailed on the Duke of Wirtenberg to the Port of Philadelphia.
On my maternal side of the family, I have been able trace my Bowman ancestors back to the early 1700s and, fortunately, I will be able to use other fragments of documents to further trace the the family tree in Germany. I have just begun research on my grandfather, Wallace Duffey's, side of the family tree, and, at this point, I have been able to research the family tree to 1860 in Charlotte County Virginia. The ghost figure in his family tree is my great, great grandfather, the father of Sydnor Duffey. I can find no documents of his existence. For me, finding this documentation will be one of my most rewarding discoveries.
On the paternal side of my family I have also been able to post some of my grandmother, Emma Zora Richey's, family tree. I still have a lot of information in regards to her family tree which I hope to get posted soon. I have posted rather incomplete information about her family tree through Abraham Richey in 1782. On my maternal side of the family, I have not yet been able to do any research on my grandmother, Gurldean Hunt's, family tree.
As you can see, I still have a great deal of research left for the future, but I know the jewels of discovery will continue to outweigh any challenges. I appreciate all of the help given by family, friends, and genealogical libraries in constructing this site, because without this help the publication this site