I'm descended from Thomas Chittenden (1729-1797), the first Governor of Vermont. His daughter Beulah (1764 - 1821) married Elijah Galusha (1757 - 1783). Elijah Galusha was a captain in the Revolutionary War. I found a document today that mentioned both, Thomas Chittenden and Elijah Galusha. It was my most interesting find on Footnote.com since joining the pay site. I've also found revolutionary pay records for another ancestor, Garrett Gray, on the site. These are among the records that Footnote.com has copied from the National Archives. The son of Elijah Galusha and Beulah Chittenden Galusha was Elijah Galusha (1780 - 1854). This Elijah Galusha provided the supplies needed by the Lewis and Clark expedition. The supply records for this event are listed on a free site ( http://www.lewis-clark.org/content/content-channel.asp?ChannelID=56 ) which shows excerpts from the journal kept by Lewis and Clark.
Another ancestor is found in online records. He is Jacob Towne. He is the son of William Towne. Two of the daughters of William Towne (and sisters to Jacob) were Rebecca Towne Nurse and Mary Towne Estey. Those names should be familiar to researchers, as two of the women who were hanged for being witches in Salem Massachusetts in 1692. Jacob appears in various court records of the time.
Those are the easier ancestors to trace. Most of the others were farmers, brick layers and barrel makers (among other occupations). They were born, married, had children (a BUNCH of children), divorced (one or two) and died without much paper work being generated. I've seen Civil War era letters written by a great great grandfather to two of his sons who had been captured during the civil war; I've seen property records tellling me that the property was inherited from a deceased father and brother; I've seen very few wills; no diaries. I want to know the "whys" and the "whats". Where was a family during the two missing consecutive censuses? Where were they between Virginia and kentucky? Why did they leave South Carolina? Why did they leave New Jersey?
ALL my family lines have been in this country since the 1600's or early 1700's. I started genealogy (in 1977) with the goal of tracing all my lines back to their arrival in this country. That's a whole lot harder than it sounded when I started. I've travelled to courthouses all over the south and up and down the east coast. I've written letters. I've met new "cousins" over the years by letter and by phone. I've joined historical societies. I really want know more about these people than names and dates. My cousin emailed me the other day and asked me if my daughter was still afraid she'd inherited "the nose" (long and pointed) from our family. That was what he remembered about his last meeting with her. I told him that the college age daughter was now more worried that she'd inherited the family "rear end"!!! What did I get from all these people? Did I get more from the one who was forced to enter a mental institution than from the one who had thirteen children and listed herself as a "weaver"?
I'm still looking. I'm still learning. My daughter is becoming interested and is taking a class with me at Samford this summer. How much fun is that!!! I'm teaching a class this week on "Getting Started in Genealogy" for our Genealogical Society. I think passing on our knowledge and enthusiasm is important. You're IT. Pass it on!!!