Periodically I touch upon genealogy in this blog, usually in the context of some other historical point I'm trying to make.
I've found that some people are really into this subject. Most people, however, are not.
Why do we care about our ancestors? We've never met most of these people, and chances are, none of them have done anything worth mentioning. Sure a couple of people are related to Presidents, or descended from the second cousin of a mass murderer, but why should we care?
Does it affect who we are today? Does it make our mundane life somehow more meaningful?
I like it because I think it's just another part of history, and I like History (in case you lived under a rock, and were previously unaware of that fact). I love to ask people about their family's history, or their ancestral country. It fascinates me to no end.
I've had an ancestor in pretty much every U.S. war. To continue that line of service, my brother is currently in the Navy, and was engaged in combat (technically) with Iran. While my family has just as many stories as everyone else, I will briefly discuss one guy about whom I'm always trying to find out more.
In 1784, after fighting in the Revolutionary War, Thomas Adcock received a Georgia land grant as payment for his service. At some point, he moved west to the new Mississippi territory, and settled in what is today the Tensaw River region of lower Alabama.
When the War of 1812 broke out, the Red Stick Creeks in the area began to indicate that they would attack peaceful Creeks and white settlers. In 1813, the nervous settlers of the area gathered at the house of Samuel Mims. He had erected a crude wooden wall around part of his property, and called it Fort Mims.
When Fort Mims was attacked on August 30, 1813, Thomas Adcock and his wife were among the hundreds who were slaughtered by the Red Stick Creeks.
The one positive of their situation was that their children were not in the fort that day.
Sadly enough, they were related to some of those who participated in the massacre.* Their daughter, Elizabeth, married George Stiggins, and Stiggins was related by the marriage of his sister to Chief Red Eagle (William Weatherford). It was Red Eagle who orchestrated most of these attacks (and who would surrender to General Andrew Jackson not long after).
Stiggins was part of the Mississippi Militia for the War of 1812, was offered the position of Chief of the tribe, and wrote a book about the customs of Creeks and the background of the massacre.
There is much more to the story, but I promised not to bore anyone. :)
*I use the term "massacre," not simply because Amerindians were the victors, but because anytime women and children are murdered on a large scale, I feel the term "massacre" is applicable.