Once again I am grateful for notice in this influential trade journal–read by book buyers for stores and libraries. Don’t be alarmed by the “Fiction” category–all poetry books reviewed in PW appear under that heading…though it seems particularly unsuitable for Trafficke. If I’d been willing to fictionalize, the project would have been a whole lot easier! Trafficke in Publishers’ Weekly
Recently, someone in the Facebook Magruder/McGruder family genealogy group started off a long conversation with the following:
Alexander Magruder is no longer a “gateway ancestor” for the Order of the Crown of Charlemagne” [OCC] or for the descendants of Magna Carta Barons. Genealogists have determined that Margaret Campbell was not his mother, and she is the one who connected him to those lineages.
Subsequent discussion was not very enlightening, though group members who are also OCC members did try to find out more detail. All we know is that the OCC’s genealogist has made this determination, but apparently does not share with anyone the sources consulted or reasons for the decision. And, honestly, a genealogical claim without reference to sources isn’t worth the pixels it takes to type it. The OCC is also claiming a birth date for Alexander of 1630–fully 20 years later than has been believed. Again, no evidence offered. Are they just guessing?
Considering that several researchers, in several generations–most recently Don McGruther–have thoroughly searched public records in Scotland, and all concur that our Alexander was the son of Alexander McGrouther (senior) and Margaret Campbell, (widow of Andrew Drummond of Balmaclone)…my question was, and still is: does the OCC have access to a document or documents not available to the rest of us, or has the genealogist simply decided that the extant evidence is too skimpy to be sure of Alexander’s parentage? While the former would be big news, indeed, the latter would be no news at all–we’ve always known the record is scant. (See, on this site, Alexander’s Family Tree & Was Alexander Who We Think He Was?)
Personally, I don’t give a fig about descent from Charlemagne or the Magna Carta barons, but I’d be pretty darned excited to see actual new evidence about Alexander and his family. I hope OCC Magruders will keep the rest of us informed about any new developments or information.
In the meantime, I have to say that absent new evidence my beliefs about Alexander’s lineage remain unchanged.
If you haven’t joined the Facebook group, you’ll find a link at the right hand side of this page.
Here are my upcoming readings from Trafficke, in case you happen to be in any of these neighborhoods. Unless noted, all events are free and open to the public.
In recent months I have read from and talked about Trafficke at a house reading/book launch in Washington DC, at a meeting of the DC chapter of Coming to the Table, in two readings at the AWP conference, at the Annual Meeting of the American Folklore Society, at the University of Colorado/Colorado Springs, the University of Illinois/Springfield, George Mason University, a house reading in Illinois, at Busboys & Poets/Hyattsville, MD, at The Writers Center, Bethesda, MD, and at The Potter’s House, DC. Many thanks to those who turned out to support me, and to join the discussion.
Several readings have been shared with Karen Branan, author of The Family Tree (Atria Books/Simon & Schuster, 2016), her investigation of a “kinship lynching” within her family in Jim Crow Georgia. I’ve recently discovered that Karen, too, is a Magruder descendant. See my post for 12 March 2016. Read about The Family Tree on Karen’s web site.
Now it’s summer, when I literally head for the hills…so no events scheduled until Fall. Here are two to look forward to–
Monday, Sept 24, 3pm: Karen & I will be speaking at the Fall for the Book festival at George Mason University. Building & room: Research 163. Visitor parking: Mason Pond Deck. Joining us will be Anthony Cohen, an African American historian who has twice walked to Canada on routes of the Underground Railroad, and in 2014 followed in the steps of his great-great grand uncle, who returned from freedom in Canada to enlist for service in the Civil War. A documentary of that journey, Patrick & Me, will be released nationwide in 2018. Committed to embodied encounters with history, Tony both directs his own foundation—Button Farm Living History Center, in Germantown, Maryland—and serves as Director of Historical Interpretation at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, where he is developing an immersion program in the experience of the enslaved at Great Hopes Plantation.
No details yet, but Karen & I expect to be speaking in Baltimore in October…stay tuned!