I want to give everyone the heads up that the page on Leonidas Bigham is posted. In a family where most males lived long and procreated much, Lee was the exception. He was killed during the battle of Chickamauga in the Civil War, at about age 24, leaving only two sons behind to carry on the line.
As I turn my attention to one of those sons — my great-grandfather Franklin Monroe Bigham — I realize that in some ways it’s easier to research more distant ancestors than it is to find out about fairly contemporary relatives. There are dozens (probably hundreds) of people doing genealogical research on William Bigham, the first generation American Bigham who fought in the Civil War and had at least six children. They’ve scoured land deed records and searched out every gravestone.
The next generation — William’s son, Hugh Braly Bigham — was a goldmine of legacy, since Hugh fathered at least 19 children. If each of those kids only had an average of 5 children of their own (and knowing the Bighams, that’s a very conservative estimate!), we’re talking 95 grandchildren for Hugh. Carry that down through to the current generation and there are about 60,000 direct ancestors of Hugh Bigham alone. That’s a lot of potential family researchers accumulating and sharing information.
But by the time I get to my more immediate ancestors, the pool is thinning down. In fact, at all the major genealogy sites I use (ancestry.com, footnote.com, archives.com, oneworldtree, etc.) I am the ONLY person I’ve been able to find who’s tracing the Bigham line through Leonidas!
I was recently lucky enough to make a connection with a woman who’s researching my paternal grandmother’s lineage and actually had some information on my grandmother, grandfather and some of their family members. Yet, this is as close as I’ve gotten so far. Perhaps that’s the real challenge of genealogy: learning about the people who have been all but forgotten by “history.”
I’ve got my work cut out for me with Franklin Monroe Bigham, Leonidas’ son! I have found almost no information about him other than a gravestone with the date of his birth and death (and that of his wife, Alma Gober). Talk about hitting a brick wall. But, as I’ve found out from doing this research on my family tree, I come from strong and perserving stock. My ancestors didn’t give up in the face of adversity — and neither will I!