Hi. I’m Karen Batchelor and first and foremost, I’m a history nerd. But my passion is, and always will be, genealogy – the hunt for ancestors long-dead but not forgotten; if I have anything to do with it.
What you’ll find here on my blog is a pretty eclectic collection of articles that reflect my interests in genealogy and sharing that passion with others, my own family research (or “extreme ancestry” as I affectionately call it) and my growing interest in reenacting life in 18th century colonial America.
For each ancestor I discover, my goal is always to piece together as much as I can about their stories of strength, survival and beating the odds so successfully that they made it possible for me to be here today.
My journey in doing Black family history began as a New Year’s resolution in 1976, the bi-centennial of the United States. A phone conversation shortly afterwards with my then 81-year-old Great-Aunt Clara fanned the flame and well frankly – I’ve been hot on the trail ever since making discoveries that constantly challenge who I really think I am as person in America.
Because I started researching my family history long before computers and the almighty Internet, I learned how to do it the old-fashioned way – through the proven step-by-step process called “genealogy”. Within 10 months, my new-found skills led me to a big surprise – William Hood, a Pennsylvania ancestor who fought in the Revolutionary War.
That discovery led to my becoming the first recognized Black member of the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1977. I’m a member of the Ezra Parker Chapter DAR in Royal Oak, Michigan and an associate member of the Presidio Chapter DAR in San Francisco.
Because I’ve discovered other Revolutionary War ancestors, a fair amount of my own genealogy research is focused on documenting the lives of those patriots. I also research and write about my slave and slaveowner ancestors from Georgia, Virginia and North Carolina and my Puritan heritage from Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine and New York.
Lately, I’ve gotten interested in reaching out and actually “touching” the world of my ancestors through what’s called “living history”. Living history is where you engage in activities that allow you to re-create historical events or the lifestyle of a certain time in the past.
For now, my focus is 18th century colonial America in the years leading up to the American Revolution. Watch for my “living history” posts on wearing colonial period clothing and learning first-hand how my early American ancestors might have lived.
As you explore around here on Extreme Ancestry, here are a few things to note -
1. Read any of the posts here on your laptop or mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets.
2. Learn more about how I started doing genealogy.
3. Here’s a list of the family surnames I’m currently researching.
And remember – family history isn’t just about the names, dates and places. It’s about discovering the stories of those who came before you.
Thanks for stopping by!