In honor of Memorial Day let me tell you about the time my blood turned blue.
When I started researching my father’s lineage three years ago, I thought it would be a quick jump from Eastern Tennessee to Ireland or England after just a couple of generations. I never expected for the roots to run from Tennessee through Virginia and Pennsylvania and eventually land 10 generations back to 17th century Germany. I hit the genealogical jackpot when I found a line connecting me to the Huffaker family. Despite it’s various spellings (Halfacre, Hofacker, Hoffaker, Hufacre) the family is well documented and researched thanks to family braggarts in the 1920s and 1960s, who in their zeal to establish themselves published now-forgotten books about their own background.
These old books on Huffaker history breathed new life into the names and dates on my growing chart. Armed with these, I investigated several lines even further using two library databases that were especially helpful in tracking down local and family histories: WorldCat and HeritageQuest.
It was through this research that I stumbled onto my fifth great-grandfather, George Huffaker, who was born in York, Pennsylvania in 1757. I was thrilled about the possibility of having a link to the American Revolution and it didn’t take long to find proof of his military service.
George joined a Virginia regiment at 19 years old in 1776. Even though we claimed our independence that same year, it took eight more to win that fight. As a private he engaged in battles all along the Holston and Clinch rivers that run through Virginia and Tennessee. One of his last fights was the Battle of King’s Mountain on October 7, 1780 – unique in that it featured an all-American cast (with one Brit Colonel in a special guest appearance leading the colony-born British Loyalists.) My ancestor was one of 1,000 American Rebel militia armed only with a slower loading, but more accurate rifle that surrounded and defeated Loyalist troops in a span of 65 minutes.
Discovering an ancestor who played a role in America’s infancy makes this type of history so much more personal. So what to do with this new information? Run straight to the Daughters of the American Revolution to earn my street cred, of course.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!