22 March 2010

Relatively Speaking - A New Twist

Today's Relatively Speaking - A New Twist, has been several years in the making. Its a long story so stick with me and you'll see exactly what I mean.

Lets start with a guest, his name is Mike - a very good friend of mine from the Ford Genealogy Club. So here is Mike's story.

Ten Years Ago

Ten years ago, I wrote a message board query asking for information on African-American Gish families in Muhlenberg Co. and surrounding counties in Kentucky, circa 1865. I was hoping someone had a document listing the names of Gish slaves. I had been looking for documents that tied my Gish slave ancestors to their slave owner.

By the time I had written the internet query, I had already contacted about a dozen Gish families by more traditional methods – letters, phone, and even e-mail. I got great responses from the people contacted, but unfortunately, no information on Gish slaves. I fact, I got feedback that most (many?) Gish’s were member of the Brethren Church and didn’t own slaves. Well I was living proof that some Gish, somewhere did.

Four months after my query I received a reply from a new found Gish cousin that had a Union Army enlistment document connecting my great grand uncle James Henry Gish to the slave owner Joseph O. Gish. That was the key that opened the door to the other side of my Gish family, which now includes a fellow genealogy club member.

Over The Years
Mike & I were both members of the Ford Genealogy Club. One night during a roundtable discussion at a club meeting Mike mentioned that he was researching the Gish family - we compared notes.

After comparing gedcoms & notes - we shared headstone photo's & pictures of the family farms, newspaper clippings & obituaries - we discovered we share an ancestor. His name is Mathias Gish.

If you take a minute and scroll back to the top of the page to the image there - my ancestor is Anna Gish Kreitzer and Mike's ancestor is Christian Gish her brother. Joseph O. Gish, the great grandson of Christian Gish took his family & migrated to Muhlenberg, Kentucky. Mathias Gish and his family migrated to this country from Germany into Philadelphia in Sept of 1733 where Mathias Gish took the oath of Allegiance to this country. They settled in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania where many of the Gish family still live today.

If you are a Gish descendant of African American descent you can contact Mike at msaulsberry@peoplepc.com or if you would like to contact me about the Gish or Kreitzer family you may leave a comment on the blog.

What an amazing find - two people whose ancestors connected so many years ago - coming together over a roundtable at a genealogy club meeting hundreds of miles from where it all began so many years ago! If this isn't Relatively Speaking then I don't know what is!
Happy Researching!


Tracy said...

This is evidence that it REALLY is a small world!

Alice Dilts said...

What a small world!

Amy Coffin, MLIS said...

Congrats on your connection. Thanks for sharing it here. I always love success stories.