“I saw behind me those who had gone, and before me, those who are to come. I looked back and saw my father, and his father, and all our fathers, and in front, to see my son, and his son, and the sons upon sons beyond.
And their eyes were my eyes.
As I felt, so they had felt, and were to feel, as then, so now, as tomorrow and forever. Then I was not afraid, for I was in a long line that had no beginning, and no end, and the hand of his father grasped my father’s hand, and his hand was in mine, and my unborn son took my right hand, and all, up and down the line stretched from Time That Was, to Time That Is, and is not yet, raised their hands to show the link, and we found that we were one, born of Woman, Son of Man, had in the Image, fashioned in the Womb by the Will of God, the eternal Father.
I was one of them, they were of me, and in me, and I in all of them.”
― Richard Llewellyn, How Green Was My Valley
The above quotation from Richard Llewellyn’s “How Green Was My Valley” proivdes the inspiration for the name of our website – Looking Backwards. It’s a potent image for myself, with All Our Relations standing before/behind us, fanning out into the prehistory
Genealogy has been an interest of mine since about 1965. Although I haven’t devoted as much time to it as I would have liked over the years, once I began using the internet as a primary research tool, I’ve found fair amount of success.
My Mitchell family came to the Carlsbad, Eddy Co, New Mexico area around 1900 from Texas. Prior to that, the Mitchell’s had been in Clay County, Alabama for over. 40 years, and prior to that, various locales in Georgia and the Carolinas.
And therein lies a mystery.
My late cousin, Buelah Conger Frehner, who sparked my original interest in genealogy in the 1960s, included in her initial letter t our family several Family Group Sheets, listing brothers and sisters of her Grandmother, Sarah Francis Catherine Mitchell Conger, who was a sister of my great Grandfather, Israel H. Mitchell (The H is possibly Hagan, Highens, or something similiar, we’ve never been able to determine it precisely). With those sheets, she included an obituary for a William Thomas Mitchell (1827-1909) – roughly the same age as Israel and Sarah’s father, Henry Thomas Mitchell (1829-1905), with a question of how were they related.
In attempting to determine how the mysterious William Thomas and Henry Thoas were related, I’ve spent a lot of time in looking into William Thomas Mitchell’s family.
William Thomas is a son of John Tolen Mitchell (1806-1859), which makes him a contemporary of Henry Thomas Mitchell’s father, John J. Mitchell (1793-1871) (again, debate of what the J stands for, James and Jay have both been suggested).
John Tolen’s parents are at present undetermined – there are two families which have been listed, but I’m unconvinced either of them are the “correct” family.
For the past couple of decades, it has been presumed that John J Mitchell’s parents were William and Chloe (Smith) Mitchell of the Laurens District of South Carolina, based on the research of my father’s late cousin Josephine Burleson Hendley.
However, recent DNA-Y testing has kind of kicked that idea out of the ring, as a known male direct descendant of John J Mitchell had DNA testing performed, and the paternal haplogroup doesn’t match other known male descendants of William Mitchell.
And the mystery continues…
Using the internet, I made contact with relatives of my grandmother, Jessie Robinson Mitchell, a line I had been stuck on since 1969. That information is now added to the web site. (Special thanks to Dick Phares & Elihu Phares for their aid in getting this information to me, as well as my cousin Judy Phares Funk for her invaluable assistance in recostructing much of that line beyond Dick & Elihu’s research. My cousin Luther Searcy also contributed family stories and photographs from our mutual great-grandparents era. )
On my mother’s side, we have Clarks, Jones, Albrights, Taylor’s and I don’t know what all else. I’m working on updating and enlarging her section of the family tree, based in large part on research done by her cousin Annie Mae (Cookie). (Thanks, Cookie!)
Which brings me to the other side of our famimly, my spouse’s Vanderpool, Gibson, Guinn, Campbell and other families.
This area is still spars;ey populated, but I’m actively working on those lins (after 40 years together, I figured it was past time!)