We are on to week two of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge. The prompt for this week is our favorite find in our research. Wow, what a tough one because there are so many! Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy finding the vital records of my ancestors. They are the pieces that establish a timeline of our family members’ lives. What I love the most is finding the information or stories that give life and dimension to people who no longer walk among us. They were once very much alive and had their own life experiences that, unless they recorded them, went with them to the grave. That’s why one of my favorite finds was a story of a murder that took place on a farm adjacent to my great-great-grandfather’s.
I actually blogged about this discovery a few years ago, and you can read all about my Great-Grandpa Frederick the Murder Witness. I learned about his ties to this heinous crime through a story posted on the Facebook page of the Lebanon Historical Society located in Lebanon, Dodge County, Wisconsin. I encourage my fellow genealogists to become members of the historical societies in areas your ancestors lived. You never know what they may have to help you. Plus, your membership helps support the important work they do to preserve the past.
My ancestors settled in a little farming community called Sugar Island in the Town of Lebanon. There was a church, cemetery, creamery, and a tavern–a staple institution here in Wisconsin. Being from a small town myself, I can imagine how a murder must have shaken people up. The story alone was such an interesting one of twists and turns. What a discovery to find out that it was Great-Great-Grandpa Frederick’s neighbor that was murdered, and he and one of his sons were among the first to find the victim!
Nuggets like this are few and far between. This will for sure be going into the family history book I am putting together! Leave no stone unturned, because you never know what you might find.
I encourage you to join this awesome family history writing exercise! Check out the Generations Cafe Facebook group and join the challenge! Get out there and discover your past! #52ancestors