This semester, I had the opportunity to be able to pick a research topic and find a unique way to not only display what I learned through a website but also through a visualization project. As someone whose introduction to history was through passed down oral histories of family members, I decided to pick a population of individuals who were at times forgotten and also caught in a living paradox (living parts of their lives enslaved and free). As someone who has read Slave Narratives, I understand the weird paradigm that they experienced. They were often seen as embarrassments to their family members (children, especially) because of being formerly enslaved and enduring a life that many could not dream of. Therefore, for my Omeka site, I documented the lives of 4 individuals who were interviewed by the WPA from 1936-1938 and were residents of North Carolina. These documents were found through various vital documents (marriage and death records) along with land deed information.
For my visualization project, I thought it would be cool to do a timeline specifically for one of the individuals that I documented throughout my Omeka site, however, I thought of something even different: a family tree. I decided to attempt to utilize the documentation that I have to find information not only about John Beckwith, but also his parents, siblings, children and nieces/nephews. One of the great things about Ancestry.com is the fact that its interface creates a timeline of their life along with maps of where they have been documented to live.
Visualization link: John Beckwith’s Family Tree
Please let me know if there’s any issues with accessing the true and navigating!
Just in case people don’t want to sign up, I made a quick video of me going through the family tree to show what the timelines look like!