I am a family historian with an interest in preserving local
history. I have been tracing my family
history for over twenty years. My
surname has always intrigued me. I rarely encountered people with the Woodfork
surname when I was growing up in Washington, DC.
Whenever I would encounter a directory or list of names, I would always scan it
in search of the Woodfork surname. Oftentimes there were little or no Woodforks
Interest in Family History
I became interested in genealogy as a teenager after Alex Haleyís book and
movie Roots became popular in the
1970ís. My research at that time mainly
consisted of talking to a few relatives and reviewing census microfilm. I
learned that my paternal great-grandfatherís name was Overton Woodfork and his
family was supposedly from Spotsylvania County,
My family is very private, so I have not been able to rely on oral
history for my research. As a young adult, college, career, marriage and
motherhood caused me to put my research aside; however, every once in awhile I
would do a little research.
In 2004, I began to devote more time to my research.
Technology has changed greatly since I first started my research back in the
1970ís. The internet has provided me access to many resources and people that were
previously unavailable. Additionalyl,
the 1930 census was now available and this document would provide the link that
I needed to learn the names of Overtonís parents (William and Louisa Woolfolk),
siblings (Mary Eliza, Susan, Emma, William and Lucy Jane) and
research my family all the way back to 1870.
After locating my great-grandfather in the 1930 census
living in Caroline County, Virginia with his brother, Willie, and his brotherís
family, I was able to locate cousins who were descendants of Willie Woodfork who
still lived in Caroline County. Through them I have acquired a wealth of
information and have been able to locate other descendants of William and
Louisa Woolfolk in Pennsylvania, Maryland,
Interest in Local History
As a family historian I am not just interested in names on a pedigree
chart. I want to know about the daily
lives of my ancestors, the communities where they lived and take an active role
in preserving this information for posterity.
I was one of several interviewers for the Fort AP Oral
History Project which sought to preserve the history of the communities that
existed in the area that became the Fort AP Hill Military Reservation. The
final product of the project was a book titled Wealthy in Heart: Oral History of Life Before A.P. Hill.
I initiated the Union High History Project to research,
document and preserve the history of Caroline
only high school for Negroes during the era of segregation. The end result of
the project was a book titled Memories of
Union High: An Oasis in CarolineCounty, Virginia 1903-1969 which I authored and self-published.
I created Woodfork Genealogy to share information that will
assist others with their research. I speak to genealogy groups on the importance of preserving
local history. My blog, Discovering
Yesterday provides research tools, tips and resources; my thoughts on genealogy
research; as well as, interesting local history.
Feel free to contact me if you have a question, comment or would
like to schedule me to speak or teach a class preserving local history.