Warp Drive

Monday, March 26, 2012

Ancestry with the Haleys - Progress Report #1

Last month, I put out a status update to my relatives on Facebook, asking them if they wanted to see more of my "with the Haley's" videos. The response was good, so I put together Nintendo with the Haley's, a tribute to the 8-bit era of Nintendo gaming. It was in this same status update that my sister responded on the subject of something called "The Haley Book." Supposedly, our grandmother had it in her possession, but hid it from the rest of the family. This intrigued me. Why would she hide such a thing? There must have been something very bad in that book. It did not take long before I learned of the reason, and for awhile, I tried to put a stop to my family talking about it on my public Facebook page. At some point in the distant past, possibly in the late 1700s or early 1800s, there had been a Haley that owned slaves. No wonder then that our grandmother wanted this book hidden from us. She was ashamed of this, and rightly so.


Nintendo with the Haley's

It was then that I was introduced to quite possibly the greatest mini-series that I have ever seen, ROOTS. It was written, ironically enough, by a Haley; Alex Haley. It was the story of his seven generations of ancestors that began in Africa with Kunta Kinte. He was searching for wood to make a drum when he was captured by white slave traders. For the next few nights, I watched this mini-series unfold, and learned things that I never knew about slavery times, and the racial discrimination that followed for African Americans. It was inspiring, too. How stories were passed down from generation to generation. It started me thinking about how I could trace my own roots. I began by digging up old documents and photographs, but this only got me so far. I knew nothing about my great grandparents, or any generations that came before them.


ROOTS

Then, my aunt got in touch with me via telephone. She had the names of our great grandparents, and a 9 page document written by one B.F. Haley that went into quite some detail about the life of the Haleys in the 1800s. She graciously made a copy of this document, and had my uncle-in-law drop it off for me. This document was a treasure trove of new information, and also confirmed the names of my great great grandparents. It was around this time that I registered for Ancestry.com. I plugged all of this information into their database, and was able to paint a much clearer picture of our family line. I also found trees with dates all the way back to the 1600s, and a number of Haleys that were born in England, but how accurate this information is has yet to be seen. I want to formally document everything before calling anything confirmed.


Ancestry.com Commercial

B.F. Haley's 9 page document also served to establish a connection with family that I did not even know I had. First, the son of B.F. Haley. He had been actively tracing the family name for years, and he was in touch with a number of others chasing the same cause. He connected me with their Yahoo group, and I was able to glean a whole lot of new information about the Haleys in the late 1700s and early 1800s. This group confirmed the names of my great great great grandparents and great great great great grandparents. Confused yet? It also connected me with someone that knew more about my great grandfather, and even had photographs of him. She graciously mailed a copy of them to me last week.


Ancestry with the Haley's Promo

So, where do I stand right now? Well, for starters, as soon as those photographs arrive in the mail, I will scan them to be added to my research. I may yet be able to learn more through Ancestry.com, and I still have a 100 page document to read through that was sent to me by B.F. Haley Jr. This will not be a video project that is finished any time soon, but I plan to keep family informed of any breakthroughs along the way.