I’ve just returned from attending the Ghotes Genealogy Conference in Accomack, Virginia. I must say that it exceeded all of my expectations. The list of speakers were a who’s who of Eastern Shore history and genealogy. They all did a wonderful job, and their passion was contagious!
It was also nice to be able to spend a few days with the other attendees who have a love for genealogy, as I do. New friendships were created, and I look forward to continued communication with a number of folks, there. If you have a chance to attend a future conference, I highly recommend it!
By clicking the above link, you can access a good source of information about the life experiences of indentured servants on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and Virginia. William and Elizabeth Nock arrived in America as indentured servants, and experienced some of the brutality chronicled in this database after arriving on the Eastern Shore of Virginia(accomack county).
I recently had a DNA test done through Ancestry.com. I wanted to possibly find new relatives, and hopefully find out my exact ethnic heritage. A while back, I was told by some historians that because the Shore was so isolated, that there was not as much race mixing way back when, as there tended to be in other parts of the country. On average, African Americans tend to be between 20%-30% Caucasian, for example. When I saw my DNA results, I learned that I am 91% African, and 4% Irish. This pretty much confirmed what the historians had told me.
Beyond my racial breakdown, Ancestry also gives you a listing of genetic cousins who you may, or may not, know. For me, there was a list of 265 people who were between first and fourth cousins. I’ve been contacted by some of those people and in some cases, have figured out how we are related. What was also interesting is that once I got past my fourth cousins, I saw photos of genetic cousins who were Caucasians in my family tree, as well.
I feel strongly that DNA testing is very important, and helps us all in our efforts to locate as many family members as we can. Whether you go through Ancestry.com, or any of the other services, I think that its time and money, well spent.