The small township where I grew up is dying. The playground of the red brick schoolhouse I attended sits empty of children, void of tether ball tournaments and gym teachers disrupting play with screeching whistles and stern looks. The empty buildings have been demoted to hosting the school district's castaway furniture; echos of giggling children's voices heard only by lonely walls late at night.

The church that hosted bible schools and senior suppers is dissolving, sucked into a vacuum of a rootless area that is no longer a village. It is, instead, a grouping of people who are disconnected by a lack of structure: A little suburb of Tulsa that never incorporated.

My childhood home is not a victim of a poor economy. It is the aftermath of decades of family migrations; a sieve that without a structured foundation, collapsed into a ghost town similar to thousands of other ghost towns dotting the rural landscapes of America.

There will always be villages that fail to thrive while others continue to bloom. It is a natural progression of survival of the fittest; an evolving panorama that never stays the same.

But how do we, as family historians, adjust with the change and what on earth does this have to do with genealogy?

There are townships of some of our ancestors that are mere shells of their former selves; towns that faded when their main industry died or when the railroad or highway was rebuilt, leaving them to weaken and wither.

But the interest of the town's history and villagers remain, especially to genealogists seeking sources of ancestors who lived within the townships long ago.

If you are searching for remnants and history of your ancestor's ghost town, go to Ghost Towns.com. This well done website is fun to explore, covering tidbits of information on skeleton towns all across America.

Ghost Town USA is a Rootsweb site whose mission statement includes "Preserving the history of America's fading and vanished towns," and features a "ghost town of the month."

Legends of America is a wonderful website, brimming with historical information on possibly every ghost town in the U.S. If you have discovered your ancestor's village is lost within history, go to this website. You may likely find it's home within the site's pages.

As family historians, we are not only preserving the history of our ancestors but of the towns where they lived. And perhaps gaining insight into the history of your ancestor's ghost town, will give a peek into the life of your ancestor.

And maybe, breathe a little life back into their town.

Keep searching for answers,

Cheryl
 


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