Wednesday, July 31, 2013

American Stories

What is your 'American Story?' Even those folks that were born and raised here in Russell County typically came from somewhere else. Just go back a few generations and you may find that your family lived someplace else. It was not uncommon for families to move back and forth between two locations as fortunes ebbed and flowed; we think of that as a modern phenomenon, but it happened in the 18th and 19th centuries as well as the 20th century.

Do you know where your family hails from? Odds are, you have MANY places you can claim, since each of us has eight great-grandparents and 16 great-great-grandparents. You can research your family history and roots at the library and online, using census records. Just start with yourself and work back in time, recording what you know and reseraching what you don't know.

The summer is what I call 'reunion season' because so many family reunions are held. The reunion is a a great time to share those families stories and interview older relatives. Just don't be surprised if the 'facts' are different depending on with whom you talk. The facts and documents may have been altered when the behavior was outside society's norms (like out-of-wedlock births) and the memory does just fade with time.

American Stories is one of the themes of the Bridging Cultures: Muslim Journeys Bookshelf. The books include A Quiet Revolution, a book on the veil's resurgence from the Middle East to America; Prince Among Slaves, an account of an African prince sold into slavery in the American South; and Acts of Faith, a book of growing up Muslim in America and the belief in religious pluralism.

Other books in the library's collections tell our American stories, such as The Hairstons, a book on the black and white members of a family with roots in Virginia and North Carolina; Sweet and Low, the story of an immigrant family that created Sweet'NLow and sugar in packets; and countless book on famous families like the Adamses and the Kennedys.

Stop by your library to check our a book. Better yet, talk to your family and write your own 'American Story.

contributed by Kelly McBride Delph