January 12, 2011

Next, some background …

As you know (or you will discover), once you get behind the 1850 census, it’s a real challenge to keep going backwards. The census from 1790 through 1840 is only head of household. We have a transcription problem with our surname Rud(d) to overcome, particularly with the indexes for records and documents which created a problem for data collection. In some cases the upper points on “U” looked like “EE” and have turned our surname into Reed rather than Rudd.

And as unusual as the name Rudd would seem to be to those of us who carry it, there were at least three distinct and unrelated Rudd males in the colonies very early on which has created some false entanglement with the descendant lines as they migrated. Lieutenant Jonathan Rudd of Connecticut and Captain John Rudd of Virginia are not related to Burlingham Rudd of Anson Co., North Carolina. The Rudd of Connecticut and the Rudd of Virginia had arrived in colonial America years before Burlingham was sentenced to transportation. Over the course of time, as their descendent lines grew, they did migrate into North Carolina, Tennessee and mid-western states where the Burlingham Rudd descendent lines also migrated.

We don’t know for sure how many children Burlingham Rudd had, nor do we know how many survived, but two sons emerge from Anson, Burlingham II and George Lounsdell, who produced a third generation. Alas, each of them appears to have named a son Burlingham which adds to the confusion and that is compounded by the fact that each of those sons named a son George and a son Elias.

Also, Burlingham Rudd and his offspring lived in some pretty sparsely populated wilderness places which left very few written records. After the American Revolution, as the country began to expand, two branches followed the movement of the American frontier which also left few records. The George Lounsdell Rudd branch migrated to the Four Holes Swamp area of St. James Goose Creek Parish, South Carolina. The Burlingham Rudd II branch migrated to the Lower Three Runs area of Barnwell Co., South Carolina. The Elias David Rudd and George Washington Rudd families left the Barnwell area and migrated into Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Texas. The Burlingham Rudd III branch crossed the Alleghany Mountains into Tennessee and then moved farther west into Illinois.

I’ve written our family story in a narrative fashion and placed it in an historical context in hopes that I’m able to bring the family to life for you. They lived ordinary lives during the historic events that charted the destiny of America. So where we don’t have records to tell us specifics, we have history. And as a family genealogist, I take very seriously my responsibility to get it as right as possible, I don’t pass off assumptions as facts. When I don’t know for sure, I’ll tell you it’s my best guess based on the facts, documents, historical and cultural context and my experience. My approach to genealogy is as an investigator. I try not to have any vested interest in any outcome. No one better than I, understands the pitfalls of tunnel vision and the frustration of brick walls to overcome. There is always a tendency to make things fit and it can be a challenging temptation. But … to do any less than to seek the truth is a dishonor to the ancestors we seek to find.

No comments: