It was two year ago tonight when, attending the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, I settled into my seat to hear the traditional Monday evening plenary speaker. That year, the presentation was slated to be given by LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson. She titled her talk, "We're All in the Same Boat Now" and called her listeners to see genealogy as a "force for social change."
Thanks to her presentation, I felt the much-needed encouragement to launch into a project I had been considering for a long time: to research a specific individual whose stories had been passed down in my family for generations.
There was only one catch: I didn't even know this person's name.
That year, the SLIG course I had registered for was one concerning Southern research. It was the first step, I hoped, in getting closer to actually launching that research project. Shortly after that January course in Salt Lake City, I was scheduled to travel next to Florida to research a family line impacting the life of that very same mystery person.
After LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson's Monday evening presentation, I remember talking with her about my impossible research mission to find this man with no name, and how her message encouraged me to pursue that project, no matter the barriers. Within a few days, a DNA match cousin in Florida emailed me to say he believed he had the right name for my mystery person: King Stockton.
Perhaps there is some great Hand in the Sky who is coordinating the moves to ensure that man's story is told as fully as possible. Though it has been two years since our initial discussion, it turns out that LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson has returned to teach at SLIG. And I am returning this month (well, virtually) to take her course in In-Depth African American Genealogy.
That was the inspiration for selecting, as my Ancestor #1 of my Twelve Most Wanted for 2021, that very person, King Stockton. Beginning tomorrow, and for the remainder of January, I'll not only explore what else can be learned about the man, but search to see what else I can discover—especially in out-of-the-way resources—about King Stockton and his family.