Tuesday, December 26, 2023

12 For '24


Basking in the afterglow of another Christmas, last night I sat looking out the window at our outdoor Christmas tree while also catching a glimpse of what is left of our inside tree after all the festivities. As usual, it was a day of gratefulness for the closeness of family. It also prompted thoughts of what can be found in the upcoming year's family history research. As we enter those peaceful twelve days of Christmas leading up to Epiphany, I now have the tradition of planning my research wish list for the upcoming year.

When I started that tradition four years ago—I call it my Twelve Most Wanted—it named one ancestor per month for my research focus. Back then, goal setting before January helped me get organized for my annual trek to attend the live version of the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. One could hardly imagine traveling all that distance without preparing to avail oneself most efficiently for research conquests at the nearby FamilySearch library just down the street from the Institute.

There was, of course, the rest of the year to benefit from organizing research plans, so the idea has stuck with me ever since. For the final days of this year and into the next, I'll be cataloging my research hopes for 2024, with one ancestral description per day.

For Ancestor #1, my hope is to stretch far back in American history to resurrect stories of one forgotten woman in my mother's ancestry. It seems so often that we research the men—especially those of Revolutionary War days—to learn more about the mark they made in our country's history. However, the women were there, too, making a difference in whatever way they could. This year, I'm hoping to delve deeper into the roots of those forgotten women, if not by outright mention in documents, then through inference as I study the social history of the era and their locale.

Zachariah Taliaferro may have been my D.A.R. Patriot, and I descend from not only one, but two of his sons, but it is the wife of one son whom I'd like to trace for this coming January. Patriot Zachariah had a son named after himself, who married a woman named Margaret Chew Carter. Margaret was barely five years of age when the American colonies made their Declaration of Independence from Great Britain, and lived to see the colonies through their struggle for self-rule and establishment as an independent nation. Born in Virginia, upon her marriage, she moved to South Carolina, where she bore the junior Zachariah four daughters, the eldest of whom became my third great-grandmother Sarah Ann Taliaferro Broyles.

Margaret's father was associated with a well-known family in Virginia, the Carters. While I have heard much about this extended family, I don't yet know exactly how Margaret's line is connected. This coming January will be my month to explore what can be found on Margaret's life and her family's connection to the early history of the colony of Virginia. 


  1. Wonderful goal. I have recently been thinking about that very thing - researching my various female ancestors' stories from the Revolutionary War. In fact, I wrote one story up as a Christmas gift for my 12-yo granddaughter. In the opening-presents frenzy, she barely glanced at it. But I expected that : - ) , knowing it would take a quieter time for her attention to be engaged. Moreover, my own attention was engaged on this topic - and I want to research each family line. Hopefully some of them will have clues on which to build.

    1. The women from that time period are certainly hard to find, so this will be a challenge. What a wonderful idea for your granddaughter, Lisa! I hope she gets a chance to let that story blossom into a fascination with her family's part in the early history of our country. That helps make history become so much more "real" for students.


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