Most blogs are fairly dynamic, with timely, frequent updates. You won’t find that here. This blog is a repository of over twenty years of research, and is now being published in this format in order to share the information with others interested in the history of some of the Ballard families of Virginia and Kentucky, and their descendants.
The focus of this particular work is to prove the ancestry of one branch of mixed-race descendants of the family. This work is not a genealogy of all descendants of Thomas Ballard of James City County, Virginia, though in time it may evolve into one. Anyone with an interest in genealogy knows that it is addictive, and the work never ends because there are always more relatives to discover with interesting stories to tell.
Since starting this work over twenty years ago, two developments have revolutionized genealogy research: (1) the Internet, which makes possible finding data with a few key strokes that in years past would take days — if not years — to uncover; and (2) DNA testing, which makes possible connections that otherwise could never be proven, and providing valuable leads for additional research. Anyone who has attempted research in a “burned” county knows the frustration caused by the gaping chasm created by the loss of countless, invaluable records that simply cannot be replaced. DNA testing can help fill those gaps.
On the other hand, the Internet has been the cause of much mischief, because while it allow the easy gathering of information, it also facilitates the gathering and dissemination of unreliable information. The diligent researcher will check information gathered online against original records when possible. On the other hand, the Internet has made possible genealogy services like Ancestry, which have revolutionized the field, making it both a blessing and a curse.
So here, then, is our impassioned plea — if you are a Ballard descendant, whether you are certain of your ancestry or not, have an inexpensive y-DNA test done (preferably the 37-Marker test), and join the Ballard DNA Project. Those of us with confounding gaps in our family tree will benefit immensely, and those whose history is well documented will have confirmation of their lineage. There are several companies providing DNA testing and one may shop around, but Family Tree DNA is a good place to start.
In the interest of privacy, information on the living is not included. Comments, and more importantly, corrections to what appears here are strongly encouraged. Notable developments in this research will be the highlight of future posts.