Cussler ends lawsuit over finding Hunley

Cussler

Disks. Check.

Flash drives. Check.

Strategy notes. Check.

Everything was packed and ready for the research trip. Plans to attend the Federation of Genealogical Societies annual conference in Knoxville, Tenn., had been scrapped, and I was headed in a different direction.

Aug. 17-21 would be spent in Morrow, Ga.

The attraction? A brick wall that had stood in my way for too many years.

Hopefully, by the time you read this, my known ancestry will have grown. But right now, one of my lines has come to an abrupt standstill.

It's that of my Grandfather Minis, who was born around 1884 and died in 1954. While I have a few records that appear to state his kinship to others, it's been impossible to find those named as parents on his death certificate, an uncle on a census record and the nearest relative on his draft registration card recorded elsewhere.

I know of no siblings, cousins or records that verify stories about other family ties.

So instead of shuttling from lecture to lecture in Tennessee, I'll be shuttling between the Georgia Department of Archives and History and the National Archives and Records Administration's Southeast Region next door.

It's exciting to anticipate spending five consecutive days focused on my problem, but that excitement is tempered by the understanding that this week could end in disappointment and frustration.

In general, my genealogical investigations have been fruitful. And for that, I am grateful.

Despite challenges to researching African-American ancestors, my personal family history archive is blessed with wills, deeds, tax records and military files that are nearly 150 years old.

Tracing back five or six generations on most lines has been pretty typical, so documenting this Minis family history has been emotionally tough.

After all, Minis is the name I carry.

My father and most of my grandfather's other children died before genealogy became my passion. Familial distance and mental illness prevented the three who survived until then from being able to answer my questions. And asking his children's friends about him has yielded only cloudy memories.

Is the woman on his death certificate really his mother? Is the man on that document really his father? Is the woman listed as next of kin on his World War I draft registration his aunt?

Was the young man he once lived with really his nephew? Did he have kin in South Carolina by association or by blood?

And is it really possible for me to uncover any of these answers in one week?

Reach Wevonneda Minis at 937-5705 or wminis@postandcourier.com.