The following is an excerpt from my book, "Brought Home by a Story: How family history changed my life" which illustrates how FamilySearch resources have helped me to link to generations past:
"After I had put so much together on my mother's parents, it occurred to me that I did not know much about her grandparents. I knew if I wanted to be able to trace them, I needed to start gathering what oral history I could. I just started by asking my mother to tell me about her grandparents.
The only one she really knew well as Lafayette Franklin Vance (1861-1952), the father of Emory Wallace Vance. Most of what she could recall about him occurred between the years 1943 and 1951 during the time they lived on the farm in Gadsden, South Carolina. I began to see similarities in his life that were interwoven in the lives of his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.
We are all hard workers. Most of us live by high moral standards and have become very involved in the churches with which we are affiliated. We have strong family values and are actively serving in our communities. Lafayette helped and served in many communities throughout South Carolina. He overcame the obstacles which were faced by African Americans from the time of Reconstruction on through segregation. Like their forefathers, his descendants believe in the power of education.
I was so fueled by the legacy he left behind, I wanted next to know who his parents were. Unfortunately at the time, no one could help me. The only online resource that I knew of at the time was familysearch.org. The 1880 US Census was free, and I figured that since Lafayette was born in 1861, I had a pretty good chance of finding him.
All that was available where I lived was the dreaded dial up, but that did not matter. The page loaded like a curtain on open night. I was not expecting what I saw when the screen came into view. As it loaded ever so slowly, my eyes which were fixed on the center of the monitor, fell upon the name of Lafayette Franklin Vance.
I had little doubt that I could find him. What came as a great surprise to me was the fact that his entire family was so large that it practically filled the length of my screen. I was speechless. Tears just started streaming down my cheeks as I raised my eyes to the first two names at the head of the family group.
My mom was waiting to see as well, and for the first time ever, the descendants of Emory Wallace Vance looked upon the names of Lafayette's parents, Beverly and Matilda Vance."