On Wednesday morning, members of the community gathered at Pebble Hill to discuss ancestors, genealogy and cemeteries in a lecture on how to preserve family history.
Author Frazine Taylor spoke to the group about how to connect with one's ancestors even though they are gone.
“Be aware that no matter how much studying of your family you will do or how often you will go to their gravesite, they will not speak to you because they are dead,” Taylor said.
Taylor went over the different records and files that can help investigate the history of those deceased. She gave tips on how to look at one record and find clues to look at other records.
She mentioned strange records might exist. Like in 1920 and 1921, dog registration existed in Elmore County, Alabama, and she used that information to find more information about her family.
Before the lecture, a group of student researchers presented their work from the local Baptist Hill Cemetery.
The research was led by Robert Bubb, a lecturer at the University in human development and family studies. He got involved with African American history after he did some research for his grandfather in 2012 about their family and found out his great-grandmother was recorded as a black woman in a 1910 consensus.
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“Immediately, I knew there was a story here,” Bubb said. “I needed to know more about her and her history.”
His findings prompted a spark for a research project that would make him a research leader, attending many events like the cemetery preservation workshop.
His students presented work conducted on the stories of those peacefully resting in Baptist Hill in Auburn.
“[My family’s] story led me to wonder about all the stories being held in cemeteries around Auburn,” Bubb said.
Through workshops and research, students found stories they never thought would be encased within the tombstones of the Baptist Hill Cemetery.
Kira Kingston, a junior in communications, joined the research class after taking a class with Bubb previously. She began her research with Baptist Hill, the first African American cemetery in Auburn.
“I chose to do this class because, being a biracial student, my dad is really involved with finding our African American history, and I got involved, too,” Kingston said. “I’m also really passionate about telling people’s stories that can’t tell them themselves.”
Most of her research went into learning about the origins of Toomer’s Corner and how an African American man helped to make it happen.
Students and faculty were encouraged to look up their own ancestry stories, no matter where they come from.
“Seek out your family story,” Bubb said. “You’ll find ways you're connected to your ancestors. It could be little things, like personality traits. It’s good to know where you’ve been so you know where you’re going.”
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