Tri-City Ledger -

By Jim Stanton
Guest Writer 

Genealogy can teach your history & more


July 5, 2018

I got interested in genealogy at a young age and remember sitting around listening to my grandparents and great-grandparents talk about the old folks. With this in mind some of the best advice I ever got was to take a tape recorder with me and record the conversation I had with the older members of the family, of course at that time tape recorders were the size of a medium size suit case and usually came with wheels and had to be plugged into a wall socket. Now most people carry a recorder in their pockets in the form of a cell phone, making it easy to record your family history. If you have never considered doing a family tree you might want to try it. You never know what you might learn about your own family. I have found some interesting things about mine over the years of doing research.

One thing that I found of local interest with my father's family is that my 4th great-grandfather Andrew Rikard was the founder of the town of Germany now Buena Vista in Monroe county Alabama, named so because the Rikards were from Germany. One of his son's Jacob built the nearby Rikard's mill.

On my mother's side of the family there is a person that was well known nationally during his time. In my younger days I remember hearing my great grandmother who died in 1964 at the age of 105 and my grandmother who died in 1983 at the 94 talk about Sidney and Phoebe, I remember the names well but not what they talked about. Sidney turned out to be Sidney Rigdon(February 19,1793-July 14,1876), one of the early leaders of the Mormon Church, you can find dozens of articles and pages about him on the internet. One of the more interesting things to me is that there is speculation that my great grandmother was more or less named in his honor, Nancy Missouri Rigdon. As it turns out Nancy was the name of Sidney's mother, and the state of Missouri figured very prominently in Sidney Rigdon's life, he is given partial credit for starting the 1838 Mormon War in Missouri and was nearly killed in Missouri. Sidney had a lot of irons in the fire over the years, from running for Vice President of the United States in 1844 to either writing or being one of the writers of “The Book of Mormon.”

My point here is if you are the least bit interested in your family history and have the opportunity to talk to the older members of your family about your ancestors then by all means do so, and with today's technology it is very easy to record them for future use. Most of my information came from, but there are many resources available today on the internet, much of it is free. Fifty free genealogy websites is one website I like and there are many more to search. Some families are harder to research and trace back more than a couple of generations, but you might be surprised how easy it is to trace some families back 500 years or more through census reports, and other records, including birth, death and even land records.


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