Secondly, I page through the index, looking to see if there is familiarity with the names, places, ideas and subject matter that will be read in the book. If I find anything in the index that peaks my interest as it relates to the research, I will go directly to that page and read a paragraph or two. Reading ahead allows me the opportunity to familiarize myself with the subject matter, and it tends to help me with my overall reading.
My interest in reading First Fruits of Freedom, by Janette Thomas Greenwood as stated on the back cover of the book:
"It offers a rare glimpse into the lives of African American men, women, and children on the cusp of freedom. First Fruits of Freedom chronicles one of the first collective migrations of blacks from the South to the North during and after the Civil War.First Fruits of Freedom breathes life into the migration of African Americans leaving Eastern North Carolina for Worcester, Massachusetts through a series of networks. By reading this book, I figured I could put flesh on the bones of my ancestors.
It was told to me that my Great Grandfather Ambrose Cully (a single man) was sent by his father to Worcester so he could get away from the race issues in North Carolina. So, naturally my focus was on Ambrose.
My theory is that Ambrose met my Great Grandmother Nora A. Gilliam in Worcester, got married and started a family. (This theory may or may not be so.) Maybe their families knew each other in North Carolina, and they left at the same time to start a new life. (It is possible the families knew each other, but I discovered Ambrose's in-laws were in Worcester by 1880 or the later part of the 1870's). Maybe Ambrose's father knew the leaders within the network and insisted that his son leave with them. (Very Possible.)
I am realizing that looking at the women in the family (in-laws of Ambrose) is very important to my study. I have gathered information via U.S. Census reports, newspapers, documents, etc., but I had not analyzed the material with my varying theories. (At least not until, I began reading First Fruits)
The next post: Index #2, I will share one of the names that popped out at me, with documentation, as I begin to answer my questions.
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