I have recently finished a lengthy family history dating from 1840-1930. I had some family oral history which I was able to corroborate and other stories, well, they were just stories. I began with my second Great Grandfather who was born in 1840's Kentucky. His father was more than likely a White farmer and slave holder. His mother was a slave, possibly Mulatto. So the story begins in Kentucky (slave state) and moves to Missouri (slave state), and following census records and tracking relatives into Illinois, mixed in with history from Mexico, Missouri(local newspaper) a story evolves. The position that I took as a writer was the following: My ancestors did not have the luxury to have modern-day historians document their contributions. They did not document their own contributions, so I, some 132 years later, must document their history to the best of my ability.
It has been a lengthy process. Years. But very fulfilling. My family will gather next week in Belleville, IL for a "Ramey" family reunion and I will present this project and findings. Do not give up on your people. It will become difficult. But that's why we are here to give you support. Best wishes.
Jay M. Collins