Mary Wiley Campbell, CG*

Genealogical Research


"They all came to Texas."

       As every beginning genealogist learns, to research a family history one must begin with the present and work backwards from there. Similar advice is given to would-be writers. Begin with what you know. A family historian sets to work by first putting down on paper the familiar facts of his or her own life. Family histories are constructed with the building block events that shape every life: the dates and places of births, marriages, and deaths that characterize each of us as a unique individual, as well as a member of a genetic family line that extends through history and beyond memory back into time. For me, the place to begin was here in Texas, where I was born, where my parents, and their parents before them were born. Texas had been the final destination for all of my great grandparents, whose own parents' and grandparents’ lives had been marked by repeated migration over many generations. It was the one thing that all eight families had in common. The X marked one spot. They all came to Texas. And stayed. Their journey’s end would mark the spot of my journey’s beginning. Just as they headed west, often with nothing more than hope in their pockets, I headed east to pick up their trail from clues I hoped they’d left along the way. And as I traveled, I kept the words of the poet in mind:

We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
-- T. S. Eliot



Genealogy Reference Links



*CG (Certified Genealogist) is a service mark of the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) used under license after periodic examination by the Board.

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