Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My WDYTYA Episode - Oral History

Note: Thanks to all of you who have read my previous postings about my Great Grand Uncle Andrew Bullock. A special thanks to William Carson, of Afrigeneas Genealogy and History Forum for nicknaming my uncle “Uncle Andy B.” I love this nickname and to plan use it in my blog postings. Thanks William for your permission.

He said…? She said…? Who really said it? This is both my dilemma and regrets for not always documenting the sources of oral history or “who said what” regarding Uncle Andy B. and others. Now as I write up my oral history tradition about Uncle Andy B’s life, my memory grows fuzzy with regard to who really said what. Some of these “informants” are still alive and well so I can still ask them questions again, while others are now deceased or not so well in mind now.

Throughout my years of tracing my family history, I have learned many facts about my family through oral history. In some cases, I conducted formal interviews where I took notes and tape recorded the conversations. In other cases, I learned tidbits about my family through informal conversations with my older relatives by phone or face-to-face. From my recollections of conversations within the last 15 years of researching, I gathered several bits of information about Uncle Andy B.

In analyzing the oral history information learned about Uncle Andy B., I will identify the sources of oral history by their kinship to him and comment whether they are alive or deceased. If alive, I will comment on what I know about their health or state of mind.

I first learned that I had a Great Grand Uncle named Andrew Bullock from two of his nieces and a brother-in-law at a family reunion in 1989. Later, I learned several things about him from the following sources whom I’ll refer to as “Informants.”

Informant #1
Niece saw him once at family funeral in 1951; remembers him as tall and dark-skinned. Informant still living and in good state of mind.

Informant #2
Niece in law visited him on several occasions with her husband (one of Uncle Andy B.’s nephews), Attended his March 20 1972 funeral. Informant is now deceased. I think that she mentioned that Uncle Andy B. had stepchildren.*

Informant #3
Niece visited him when she lived in NY and attended his March 20, 1972 funeral. I think that she also mentioned that Uncle Andy B. had stepchildren.* Informant still living and in good state of mind.


*Note: My memory is fuzzy with regard to who said what about Uncle Andy B. having stepchildren. I think that both Informants #2 and #3 mentioned that Uncle Andy B. had stepchildren. Since both of them visited him during his lifetime, they both would have probably known about the stepchildren. I am not sure which informant (#2 or #3) gave me details on the gender of the stepchildren and the names of some of them. The recollection is that Uncle Andy B. did not have biological children, but had one stepson and two stepdaughters. The informant thought that the stepson’s name was Johnny; and that one of he stepdaughter’s name was Winny. Informant did not remember the name of the second stepdaughter.


Informant #4
First Cousin who may have interacted with him when both lived in NY. Informant still living. This first cousin who is in his early 80s possibly has Alzheimers, but I am not sure how severe. This informant did not tell me directly, but reportedly told another Bullock family researcher that Andy B. left home during his teenage years and moved to NY to live with relatives. He and Uncle Andy B. were first cousins and it is likely that their paths crossed in NY. I have met and had several conversations with this informant and probably brought up Uncle Andy B’s name during our conversation after I learned that informant lived in NY during his adult years. If this conversation took place, I do not remember anything in particular that this informant said.

Other Oral History Conversations
I am positive that I asked others about Uncle Andy B. during times when I have inquired about memories of the children Uncle Andy B’s parents, Andrew and Luvenia Bullock. Nothing significant is remembered from these inquiries other than Uncle Andy B. was the son who lived in New York.

More Possible Informants
There are still a few living relatives whom I have not talked to yet, who likely remember Uncle Andy B. or remember hearing about him. Uncle Andy B. has several first cousins still living, one in particular who moved from NC to New York during her early adult life. Last time I saw her, she was 95 years old, very spry, and walking better than I was. I can’t remember what year I last saw her and for some reason I don’t have her date of birth recorded in my family tree file. Yesterday I posted a message on our Bullock family website to ask about this cousin’s well being as well as contact information for her. If this cousin is not well enough to talk, then there are other possible persons such as her son who might be in his 70s or 80s or other living cousins or nieces and nephews of Uncle Andy B.

Stay tuned. . . Coming Up! – Professor Dru learns about Uncle Andy B. from the Census.

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