Monday, January 13, 2014

Writing a Family Genealogy

By Yvonne M. Perry

During my visit to Sedona, Arizona, in 2012, I had a spiritual reading by an indigenous grandmother who told me I had Cherokee blood in my veins. I remembered my parents having mentioned that fact about our ancestry; so, when I next saw them I asked for details. They identified Sarah Elizabeth Ward (whom our family called “Big Granny”) as the Cherokee on my mom’s side. So, off I went on a search to find her in historical records. Since so many Native Americans intermarried with European settlers and hid their pedigree in order to survive the harsh treatment forced upon them, it is difficult to confirm ethnicity in U.S. census records and other government documents. What can’t be hidden is the truth that comes from the stories shared and passed down in families.

Mom told me that her cousin Jenny had done several years of research and personally knew Big Granny. Growing up in the ’40s and ’50s, Jenny remembered many of the stories that her older sister, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and other relatives had told her —Jenny would be the one to fill in the missing details. Jenny and I knew one another through our brief encounters at family gatherings when I was young, but I moved out of state as an adult and no longer attended the reunions. When I contacted Jenny, we knew we were an answer to one another’s prayers. I wanted to know about my ancestors and she had been praying for someone to help her publish the material she had compiled.

If you’ve ever tried to do research for a family genealogy or writing a book you know that either one is a daunting task in itself. Now try doing both tasks and you’ll understand why this is almost impossible without collaboration from family members. Not only did Jenny and I spend countless hours poring through family trees and contacting people on, we spent equal time writing and editing the stories we gathered from family members who Jenny interviewed. She also visited courthouses, graveyards, and cousins who had family photos and memorabilia we had no idea existed.

In addition to sharing our family pedigree, Jenny and I wrote about what we have seen, heard, and experienced with angels and ancestors. We sensed their presence and help with the research on this project. I would awaken during the night with a hunch I had to follow the next day. While looking for clues on one lead, some other information we needed would magically pop up. And, not only were the ancestors helpful, some liked to play pranks. For example, Jenny went to her car at 6:30 one winter morning and found all the windows on her car rolled down. They were not down when she came in the day before. One would need a key to the door lock and the ignition in order to raise or lower the windows. The first thing she thought was, “Who did this?” Then she said, “Good morning, whoever you are.” She went to work with a wet butt from the damp seat.

That’s not the only time we encountered the spirits of our ancestors. I was lead to connect and provide healing energy to the ancestors who came to me in spirit. When one person in a family heals, it positively affects those in the DNA timeline forward and backward, regardless of whether or not they are in a human body. While visiting the Little Union Cemetery one day with her sister, Sarah, Jenny was nearly back to the church when she spotted the tombstone of a family friend. Jenny snapped a photo and started to step away from the grave when something invisible grabbed ahold of her right foot and would not let go. She fell face down, rolling around and trying to get up. At first, she thought she was tangled in the leaves or caught in a vine, but when they raked back the leaves, there was nothing but smooth-cut grass underneath. Another night that same month, Jenny was sitting at her computer, thrilled at what she was finding when suddenly the radio in her bedroom blasted on. She accused her husband of messing with it, but found him asleep in his chair. The alarm that she had set to go off at five o’clock every morning was still set. She took that as a sign that our ancestors were helping us with this research.

I think you will find this book of memoirs interesting even if you have never heard of the Bates family. To learn more about this research project, see

Oh, Come, Angel Band ~ The Living Genealogy of the Charlton Bates Family authored by Yvonne Perry and Jenny Bates Meadows-Sauls is now available!

Purchase on CreateSpace
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The genealogy of the Bates family of Georgia is traced back to Charlton Bates and Nancy Kelly (O'Kelly) Bates, first recorded as living in South Carolina in 1812. The descendants mentioned in this book are David Ward and Nancy Martin, Thomas F. Bates; Sarah Elizabeth Ward, Savannah Bates and Alexander Newton Smith; and Lemuel Harris Bates and Lillian Margaret Smith. There are more than 200 photos and some interesting history of Cherokee County, Georgia, as remembered by the Bates family who lived in the area.

Request the paperback book at retail stores or your local library using the info below:

Title: Oh, Come, Angel Band ~ The Living Genealogy of the Charlton Bates Family
Authors: Jenny Bates Meadows-Sauls and Yvonne Perry
ISBN-13: 978-1492269700
ISBN-10: 1492269700
Pub date: December 13, 2013

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