Dear Kimsey family researchers,
I’ve decided to embark on a new project, and would like to solicit your help. I hope the project will have some interest to all who are researching the Kimsey family in America.
Without going into unnecessary detail here, I think we would all agree that the search for the origins of Benjamin Kimzey Sr, possibly born about 1725, possibly in Scotland, has resulted in a lot of hard work, false starts, unexpected twists, and, occasionally, some contention over “the truth”.
I’m fascinated by the story (which I will not retell here for reasons that will become clear) and would like to embark on a new research project. Right away I want to emphasize that this is a historiography project, not a geneaology project. I want to learn about the origins and evolution of the Benjamin Kimzey story, separate from the origins of Benjamin Kimsey/Kimzey himself.
Be assured my intention is not to criticize or discredit the work of any family researcher. I only want to look at the story of Benjamin Kimsey as an example of how individuals become icons, how news becomes folklore. I want to use the story, an important part of my own family tradition, to understand the role of oral histories in the creation of our family portraits and our self-identity.
So the help I’m asking for is that anyone with a Benjamin Kimsey story share it with me, and allow me to refer to it in potential publications. I want to hear the stories in your own words, and I want to collect as many published versions as possible as well. Again, my intention is not to be disrespectful of anyone’s feelings about the origins of the family or the characters of our ancestors. Nor do I intend to stir up any new discord in the research community. Although I do expect to come to some conclusions about the value of the story for geneaology, it’s the evolution of the story I want to examine.
Here is what I’d like to know:
1) your story
2) if this is your own retelling, when did you first hear the story? Where, and from whom?
3) if this is a printed version, (not published; for example, an excerpt from a letter from Great Aunt Annie) what is the source? When was it written down?
4) If this is a published version, who is the author? When was it published? Does the author provide any citations?
Please e-mail me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org
. I look forward to sharing “the history of our history” with all of you. Thanks in advance for your willingness to help!