It may be the day after Christmas, but that doesn't mean I stop celebrating. In fact, I've a longstanding romance with the quiet week between Christmas and New Year's Day, so why stop with that? I've learned to expand that celebration period to match up with the traditional twelve days of Christmas.
Being always in pursuit of my family's history, I couple that introspective twelve days with some time to reflect on the twelve ancestors for which I'd most like to learn more. Last year, I dubbed that effort the pursuit of my "Twelve Most Wanted." Because goals help clarify not only what we are seeking, but help us evaluate how far we've come and what is yet to accomplish, it's a worthwhile program to repeat for a new year. So today, I'll begin the process with hopes for a successful research year in 2021.
January is always my month to travel to Salt Lake City and attend the Institute held there, so the class I attend at SLIG determines which ancestor my research will pursue. This year, of course, SLIG will be a virtual experience—alas, minus those glorious hours spent at the Family History Library—but the course I've selected will once again point me in the right research direction.
The course I will be taking next month is In-Depth African-American Genealogy, with lead course instructor LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson. There are several reasons behind my course selection—not the least of which is that I often have beginning genealogy students researching that very topic—but high among those reasons is a personal purpose for attending that course.
If you remember from years past, I had been seeking some answers to a childhood story passed along by relatives in my mother's family—the story of a man whose name I eventually discovered was King Stockton. Hopefully, my week attending SLIG this January will introduce me to additional resources for finding biographical material on King Stockton. After all, my first breakthrough came when I found his name in a footnote to a historical society journal article. Information is often out there: we just need to learn how to find it.
With that, how can I not kick off the new year with King Stockton as my first "ancestor" to research? Although he is not specifically in my direct line, a few of his descendants are included in my DNA matches—all the more reason to learn more about this remarkable man from the Civil War era.