Use the occasion of Halloween to remember your ancestors

040316 ROSWELL, GA: Names and dates line the voluminous records at the Church of Latter Day Saints Family History Center, where people come to research their family's genealogy. Family History Center at 500 Norcross Street in Roswell. For Helen Cauley feature on Geneaology - Family Trees. (Parker C. Smith/Special)
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040316 ROSWELL, GA: Names and dates line the voluminous records at the Church of Latter Day Saints Family History Center, where people come to research their family's genealogy. Family History Center at 500 Norcross Street in Roswell. For Helen Cauley feature on Geneaology - Family Trees. (Parker C. Smith/Special)

Credit: Special

Halloween, or All Hallows’ Eve, is an ancient tradition that is said by many to be the time to remember the dead. It precedes All Saints’ Day, observed on November 1.

It’s a good day for genealogists to recall fond memories of ancestors or stories about them. Which favorite ancestors have emerged from your research? Which ones, if any, were perhaps notorious? I researched one step-ancestor in South Carolina who, in 1840, was being questioned by a judge about her husband’s estate. Apparently, she’d had several spouses, some of whom disappeared, perhaps lured by the California Gold Rush, or maybe meeting darker fates “You can only have one husband at a time, so when did your first husband die?” the judge asked.

Today is a good time to remember the most interesting ones and share those stories with others. Writing up your stories is a good way to preserve and to share them.

World War One topic of Lunch and Learn

“The First World War: Why it Still Matters” is the topic of the Georgia Archives’ virtual Lunch and Learn on November 12. The talk will be presented by retired social studies teacher Gary Gill and will take place from noon to 1 p.m. Gill, from Thomaston, will examine the war’s influences, big and small, on our language, literature, and politics, and he’ll discuss the heroes and villains from those times. Go to GeorgiaArchives.org to register for the event, which will be free via Microsoft Teams. You should download the app ahead of time. For more information, call 678-364-3710.

Don’t make assumptions

Many times, we assume that older ancestors died where the records say they lived. We assume we know the timeframe. But until you can prove they died where you think they did, stay open to new information. I have two ancestors who moved to different states when they were at ages that would have been considered old at the time. They died in their new states, which is provable by estate records.

Contact Kenneth H. Thomas Jr., P. O. Box 901, Decatur, Ga., 30031 or www.kenthomasongenealogy.com.