After I published Jordan’s Journey, I always fantasized about doing a volume two sub-titled: The European Edition! Digging deeper into my heritage before my ancestors came to America would be fascinating. While, unfortunately, I don’t think such a book will happen any time soon—for various reasons I won’t get into here—I do intend to explore my international heritage in whatever ways I can. Last summer, I took the first step towards this when I visited Germany to learn more about my Beck ancestors.Read More
Back in 2012, when I did the Jordan’s Journey lectures in Walker and Chattooga Counties (Georgia), Martha Neal Dennis was one of the many people who came out to see me. Mrs. Dennis is a blood cousin of mine–we both grew up in Armuchee Valley and descend from the same Keown family–though I never knew her before that day at my lecture.
Mrs. Dennis attended my lecture after seeing the announcement in the Walker County Messenger. She recognized my name from many years earlier. You see, I participated in a Daughters of the American Revolution ceremony when I was a young boy to honor some of my ancestors. My name had been listed in the program from that ceremony, and Mrs. Dennis, an active DAR member, was also there. The day of my lecture, she brought that program–from some 20 years earlier–to show me.Read More
Well, here we are. 2012 is quickly drawing to a close. This time last year, this blog didn’t even exist. I was working feverishly to get everything set up on the back end, not to mention finalizing the Jordan’s Journey book. I opened the blog to the public on January 1st, 2012. And it’s been going strong ever since. Here’s a little overview of the past year…
After I opened the blog, the trailer was the main attraction. A few posts later, I revealed the book cover for the first time. By February, the book was officially available and out in the world. This included my submission of Jordan’s Journey to the National Genealogical Society’s award for excellence for a Genealogy & Family History book. Unfortunately, Jordan’s Journey didn’t win that award. For any of you who have seen the book, you know it’s a radical departure from a typical genealogy book. I imagine NGS didn’t know what to think of it. When I met some people from NGS in October at The Genealogy Event here in New York, I showed them the book and mentioned how I entered the contest but did not win. “Well, in terms of design, if there were such a category, you certainly would have won.” This shows that while Jordan’s Journey is viewed primarily as a genealogy/local history book, it is much more than that, just as I intended. The visual aspect of the work is what draws people in.
The most rewarding part of this year with Jordan’s Journey was when I brought it back to Georgia and appeared in the Rome News-Tribune, the Summerville News, the Walker County Messenger (front page!), and the Dalton Daily Citizen. My lectures at The Summerville Public Library and the LaFayette-Walker Public Library followed in June (including an exhibition of my photos at the Summerville Library). Sharing Jordan’s Journey with everyone back home is an experience I will always cherish.Read More
Regular readers of this blog will know that while I write about my Georgia homeland, I live in New York City. So, that means the past week has been a rough one. My apartment was without power from Sunday, October 28th, around 8:30 pm to about 4:30 am on Saturday, November 3rd. That’s a long time to spend “off the grid” with no power, heat, or water. I am fortunate, though, that my home is safe. Many people cannot say that in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. And my office has suffered a hard blow, too. I work at the very tip of Manhattan in a building that looks over the harbor. I look out at the Statue of Liberty every day. The storm damaged the building, which means that I have been swamped as an IT infrastructure engineer. In the business world, the work never pauses–not even for a hurricane. You can’t miss a beat. The past week has been trying, and there is more to do. The weeks ahead will bring many more long days.
During the blackout, I spent a lot of time contemplating my ancestors. Most of them lived without electricity their entire lives. I thought about how their homes and habits were more tailored to those circumstances. Daily schedules were dictated by daylight hours, and homes were made to stay warm without electricity, to name a few points. So many other details of their lives must have differed from ours. When we lose power, it is more than an inconvenience; it has a way of stopping us in our tracks. To temper that reaction, I tried to remember how my ancestors lived–and thrived–in a world without electricity. Contemplating that made it a little easier to get through the darkness.Read More
My lectures and art exhibition in northwest Georgia were well attended by many locals and a few people from farther away, including Panama City Beach, FL; Knoxville, TN; and Nashville, TN. Thanks to everyone who stopped by. Seeing so many old friends and meeting several new ones was great. If you couldn’t make it, remember that my photographs are on display in Summerville until 10 July.
For today’s post, I’m sharing photos from both lectures. I will be working on a video of the lecture(s), but that will take some time to put together, so watch this blog for that at some point in the future.
While in northwest Georgia, I visited a few cemeteries (a couple I had never seen before), filmed some footage that will become more videos for this blog, and worked on some new family tree branches. But after that, I focused on some much-needed vacation time–away from work, away from genealogy, and away from everyday life. It was good.
Now I’m home again and back to the grind. I have some new content in the works: writing, photography, and more videos. In the meantime, enjoy these photos from the lectures. And let me know what type of content you’d like to see on the blog in the future.
I’ve been on the road for work and preparing for my upcoming lectures in Northwest Georgia. And the time is upon us! Tomorrow I will be in LaFayette, Georgia and Tuesday I will be in Summerville, Georgia. My art exhibition of photographs from the Jordan’s Journey project will also be on display at the Summerville Library starting this Tuesday. The events are free and open to the public. I hope that those of you in the area will be sure to attend. It will be great to see you all in person, and I hope to make it a unique experience… just like the Jordan’s Journey book itself. Hope to see you there!
Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.–George Santayana, The Life of Reason, Volume 1, 1905
US (Spanish-born) philosopher (1863 – 1952)
Today I’m going to try something a little different here on Jordan’s Journey. Rather than write about people and places, interesting connections, or even tell you about my research and resources (like last week)… I’m going to explore a bit of the memoir side of this project. Certainly the Jordan’s Journey book has elements of memoir weaved in throughout the text. In the book, though, those very personal elements always serve the overall genealogical story. Here on the blog, there’s room to branch out a bit.
I’ve talked a little before about the difference between my homeland and the city I now call home. This urban versus rural dichotomy is constantly evident to me. I lived in rural Georgia for the first 18 years of my life. My life and experience there is an inseparable part of my identity (even though for many years I wanted nothing more than to escape any association with it–but that’s a whole other story unto itself). I’ve been in New York for 14 years now. I call it my home just as much as that idyllic valley where I was raised.Read More
One of the exciting things about the research behind Jordan’s Journey was the opportunity to learn about topics I had never explored before. One such subject was the Civil War. Like most things we learn in history class growing up, the Civil War is glossed over and never examined as closely as it should be. Most of us have an oversimplified impression of the war as being about the North versus the South and slavery versus freedom. The reality, however, is that the story is much more complicated than that. In terms of Jordan’s Journey, I learned that not only were there military regiments from southern states who fought for the Union, but I realized that several people from different family lines in my tree fought for those regiments–including a 2nd great grandfather on Mom’s side and a 3rd great grandfather on Dad’s side. It was a surprise to uncover this, as the family had long forgotten it.
In my Anderson family, my 2nd great-grandfather Abraham Anderson fought for the Union in Tennessee’s 5th Mounted Infantry regiment. You can read more about Abraham in the book, but I want to share more about Tennessee’s involvement with the Union.Read More
When I tell people I grew up in East Armuchee, they almost inevitably say, “Ar-what?” If you spell it out for them, they say, “Ar-MU-chee?” It’s hard to make people understand the way we say it: Ar-MUR-chee. Yes, it’s weird, I know that. But it’s the way we say it. It’s like how in New York we say “How-stun” Street instead of “Hew-stun” like the city in Texas. If you say “Hew-stun Street” in NYC, we’ll look at you as if you have three heads, just like if you say “Ar-MU-chee” back home.
Armuchee (ᎠᎽᏥ) is a Cherokee (ᏣᎳᎩ) word. Cherokee is an endangered language, but tech companies are doing their part to help preserve this valuable part of our world heritage. You can use Cherokee on your iPhone or search Google with the language (Murph; Google). Despite this, no one knows precisely what “Armuchee” means. There are various interpretations, including “land of beautiful flowers” and “much water” or “much fish” (Armuchee). In the words of Larry Salmon, “perhaps the real meaning was lost on the Trail of Tears” (Salmon).Read More
Unveiled at last, here is the cover of Jordan’s Journey. The cover photo is a self-portrait taken in September 2011 on the Pope/Jordan family farm where I grew up in East Armuchee, Georgia. I shot the primary footage for the book trailer on the same day.
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Some of you may be interested in my research methods while writing Jordan’s Journey. I used no one approach to write the book, combining many different ways of accessing information. If you are interested in specific topics or have specific questions, please let me know so I can address those issues in future posts.Read More
The area of northwest Georgia where I grew up is part of the Valley and Ridge region. This region comprises “long northeast-southwest-trending valleys and ridges that give the region its name” (Geology). The area is not unique to Georgia and “extends continuously from New York to the edge of the Coastal Plain (fall line) in Alabama” (Chowns). This expansive area is undoubtedly filled with numerous communities and fascinating genealogies. Generations of my family are nestled deep in these valleys in Walker and Chattooga counties in northwest Georgia–and that is where the meat of Jordan’s Journey takes place.Read More
Growing up in the rural south, people never ask, “Where are you from?” (unless you have an unfamiliar accent that automatically marks you as an outsider). It’s assumed that you are American and, more precisely, Southern. There’s no ethnic or national identity beyond that.
But living all my adult life in New York City–a virtual stew of world culture–people always ask you, “Where are you from?”Read More
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These posts are archived from the Jordan's Journey project by Jordan M. Scoggins. They have been made available here for continued reference and research purposes.
The original book is available to order from the bd Shop or your favorite bookseller.
For more about the project, visit the Jordan's Journey archive home page.