After writing my article, Scrapbook a Family Tree, I realized that I wanted to sit down with my cousin and ask her a few more questions about what she learned while creating the family tree. I thought asking her these questions could shed light on what you can learn and experience through scrapbooking your family history. Here are a few of the questions I asked her to learn more about her experience with this project.
How long did it take you for this project?
"I only had 6 weeks because I thought of the idea to make it in November, but wanted to give it for a Christmas present."
Who was your favorite person to learn about in the family tree? Why?
"One of my favorite stories was about my maternal great, great, great (GGG) grandfather, Royal Francis (Frank) Lockett. He was the second child of Royal Lockett and Martha Smith Lockett. (b. 11/25/1827, Crawford Co., GA; d. 12/25/1865, Jefferson, Marion Co., TX.) He married Julia Frances Jones in Cass County, Texas, July 5th, 1854. The following is some of what is written about him:
'Seven of the sons of Royal and Martha Lockett were soldiers in the Confederate Army. According to the record in the War Department (among Union Records in Washington) Frank Lockett was a member of Company B. Crump's Regiment of Texas Cavalry, Confederate States Army, was captured June 20th, 1863, at Lafourche, Louisiana, paroled at New Orleans, Louisiana, and was received by the Confederate Agent of Exchange at City Point, Virginia, July 6th, 1863. Clothing was issued to him July 8th, 1863, residence Jefferson, Texas.
Frank Lockett, like so many of the Southern Soldiers, carried his body servant, a slave called Bill, with him to the army, and he was killed because of this body servant, and his loyalty to him. A renegade carpet bagger by the name of Rose, had repeatedly tried to stir up trouble among the Lockett slaves or rather the ex-slaves, for it was 1865 and the war was over. The slaves were devoted to the family, especially Bill, who proudly called himself a Confederate Soldier, and refused to leave the Lockett plantation. Rose was an agitator, and determined to cause trouble. On Christmas Eve, 1865, when Bill was enroute to Jefferson for plantation supplies, Rose assaulted him and beat him to death. Frank Lockett rode in to Jefferson the next day - Christmas Day - to try to find his body servant who had failed to return home the night before. As he was entering one of the local hotels Rose hid behind a door, and shot him in the back. As an illustration of the total lack of law and order, Rose was never arrested and there was never a trial, though he left Jefferson immediately, and was not heard of again.' (see footnote below for reference)
There are too many special stories to share! I treasure now what I learned about my ancestors because I did not know anything, about any of them, prior to making the tree."
What were you most surprised to find out about an ancestor?
"That my maternal grandmother's father (my maternal great grandfather) had a sister named Laura “Jewel” Davis Scarborough (b. 5/7/1887, Pittsburg, TX; d. 9/2/1968, Abilene, TX) She was the daughter of Charles Gardner and Martha Alice (Lockett) Davis.
I was surprised to find that she wrote about some of the members of my grandmother's side of the family. She wrote extensively about their history and genealogy. Her works include a four-volume family history titled, Southern Kith and Kin (1951)."
If you could meet anyone from this family tree, who would it be and why?
"There are too many to chose from."
Why was it so important for you to do this project, and what was the single most important thing you learned?
"It was important for me originally, because I knew how much my mother would love it. However, I learned that I am a part of something much grander than myself. That I am part of a chain of history. It really made history come alive for me. I treasure the time I had to work on it. What I thought was simply a gift for my mother and sister became a big gift for me. Through the process of making the tree I learned so much about my ancestors. I could never chose a favorite, because they all became favorites!"
Family historians will always tell you about the wonderful experiences they have through doing their genealogy. Michelle's experience is not unusual. Often, people who begin the journey of learning about their ancestors will tell you that it was on of the most rewarding experiences of their lives. You can have these same experiences as well as you scrapbook your family history.