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July 14, 2010

Who Do You Think You Are?

Have you ever saw that show?  The first episode that caught my attention was the one with Matthew Broderick.  My curiosity was stirred and I started thinking.  I didn't know much about my Grandma's side which was Lockharts.  So the search began.  Then one day it dawned on me that although I was raised in the area where all of my Dad's family lived, I didn't know as much as I thought I did about them.

I'll admit that I was ashamed to carry the last name of Brock.  I had always heard stories told about womanizing, drunkards, slavery, etc.  This is what I thought my family was made up of and it was embarrasing.  But that was not entirely true, it was not the whole story and most certainly wasn't the whole family.  Although some did own slaves but weren't plantation owners, the cruel acts toward the slaves weren't by my family like I'd been told.

I also found interesting information about books that were written and pertained to my ancestors.  The first was by Yancey J. Dickert and the second by John A. Burrison.  Dickert describes America in it's colonist years and the height of immigrants flocking to the South Carolina coast.  Hans Ulric Schleich was the first of my Sligh family to settle in Dutch Fork, South Carolina with his wife and children.  They were given land and were very prosperous and owned numerous slaves.  Then as land opened up they began their journey south and then westward.  With my set of Sligh's settling in Georgia where the book by Burrison picks up about American Pioneers and the story of Georgia Folk Pottery.  Here's where I learned about the Sligh, Brock and Shepherd familys working together and the familys married each other.  They were a made up of a mixture of farmers and potters.  Little did I know that some of the places I played when I was young was in the history book.  The burning of Georgia during the civil war and Sherman's march and how it affected my family.

This information opened up a whole new world for me.  I was no longer ashamed of my ancestors but saw them as hard workers who took care of each other.  The way we in America no longer do.

On my heritage journey I've learned of the original surname spellings and where I came from.  Schleich being from Germany later changed the spelling to Sligh in America.  Brach was a Pennsylvania Germon stock that later changed their spelling to Brock.  And well, the Shepherds, I still haven't figured out where they originated.

I always jokingly said that every new Sligh and Brock generation brought friendlier and more patient people that weren't as short tempered and mean.  Little did I know then where it came from.