Monday, August 16, 2010

Monday Madness: Samuel Lampkin Moore Proctor wouldn't let me sleep until I got it right!

I have been studying my family history for about eight years now and have worked extensively on all branches of my tree, focusing intensely on many individuals in that time. I have previously never had any of the serendipitous or intuitive experiences that Hank Jones describes in his Psychic Roots books. However, several months ago, I was going through a letter that my late Great Aunt Cleo wrote about our family history and transcribing the details into my online family tree (which is set as viewable to the public). I entered many detailed stories about various relatives on her side of the family (Proctor, Travis, Hewitt, Campbell). As a side note, she mentioned that her great uncle, Samuel Lampkin Moore Proctor, had served as a Chaplain and fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War. Somewhere in the middle of entering LOTS of information on other relatives, I entered a one line comment on his profile along these lines, and continued on without much thought. (Samuel is not in my direct line and since he appears on many family trees I assumed he had been thoroughly researched, so I didn't pay that much attention to him.)
Late that night, I finally closed down the computer and went to bed. All night long, over and over, I was awakened with, "SAMUEL LAMPKIN MOORE PROCTOR" screaming in my head. Not one time did any other relative that I had worked on that night enter my head. Just repeatedly and urgently, Mr. S.L.M. Proctor! I thought maybe it was that his middle names could solve the mystery of his mother Mary's parentage. [At the time we knew her maiden name was Moore, but not her parentage. I have since solved this puzzle.] So, I finally gave up on sleeping. Exhausted and delirious, I got up and started searching on the names "Lampkin," "Moore" and 'Proctor."  Immediately, a new record popped up on Ancestry that I had never seen before and none of the other Samuel L.M. Proctor researchers had on their trees (none even had a date of death). It was "Headstones Provided for Deceased 
Union Civil War Veterans" (emphasis mine) with his date of death. I immediately changed the notation on his profile to indicate that he fought for the Union, not the Confederacy! I imagine any soldier who fought for the Union would be HORRIFIED to be remembered as a Confederate! He must have been so incensed by what I had written on a publicly viewable forum, that he kept after me until I changed it, lest ANYONE think he was a Confederate! 
Since I was up, I continued to do genealogy research, intending to work on my great great grandfather (his brother, Ephraim). Unexpectedly, that entire day and night, all kinds of records popped up about Samuel all over the Internet! On, someone had just taken a picture of his burial marker two weeks earlier (he died in 1892)! On early Illinois history sites, I found his name over and over again in the places that my direct relatives were living. Ephraim, my great great grandfather, wasn't even mentioned once even though I know he ran a business, raised a family and lived in the area for many years. Somewhat coincidentally, I did find Samuel working with other unrelated direct relatives of mine on roads, school boards and such. Throughout the long day, I ended up documenting much of Samuel's life with random little tidbits, including his children's details and information on his grandchildren. The person who had made the initial memorial for him on Findagrave even transferred it to me immediately and I wrote a detailed bio about him, emphasizing the fact that he fought on the UNION side of the Civil War. 

That night after I finally shut down the computer, I slept very soundly with NO interruptions!
I know that many would say this is all just a coincidence, but to me it is quite clear what happened. One might ask, why would I be the one he "harassed" when he has so many direct descendants interested in him? I think the answer is the misinformation I had posted. So, maybe that's the way to get the attention of the ones we seek! :-)

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