Finding the name of an ancestor or distant relation in a publication never ceases to give me a little thrill. The hairs stand up on the back of my neck. Seeing their name in print somehow makes them seem a bit more real. They stop being just a name with dates on a family tree. Such things remind me that they had lives, every day lives, and seeing their names in a book or a publication with snippets of their personal history is a priceless experience.
This is the case with one of my maternal great-great-grandfathers, George Washington Josey, and his brother Oscar. They appear in the book “Divine Will, Restless Heart” by Mary E C Drew (book details are at the end of this post). Okay, there is only a few sentences which discuss the..but those few sentences are like gold dust to me.
Both boys were openly acknowledged by the white planter father in his lifetime. And the seemingly simple fact that they “lived with” a white family raises all kinds of questions. It doesn’t say they were slaves – nor does it say they were free. So the question remains, in what manner did they live with the Norwood family? It’s the eternal see-saw of genealogy: no sooner do you answer one question (in this case, the name of the boys’ father), another one presents itself.
A screen grab except follows below (my apologies Ms Drew, WordPress doesns’t allow iframe widget embeds from Google Books and I have tried every which way to make that widget work in this post):
Unfortunately, the book isn’t available as an eBook. However, here’s the link to the book on Google Books. I believe print copies are still available to buy. A number of Rich Square, North Carolina African-American families are mentioned in the book – including the family of Oscar Josey’s wife, Emma Smallwood.
Title: Divine Will, Restless Heart
Author: Mary E. C. Drew
Publisher: Xlibris Corporation, 2010
ISBN: 1453511962, 9781453511961
Length 292 pages