This work entitled Cross Roads: A Historical Genealogy of the Cross Family, 1750-1950, is written as a legacy for generations of the Cross-Marrow family.
Producing a Historical Genealogy narrative is both a struggle and triumph. When it is your family history, it is exuberant.
Finding documented evidence of African American families requires intensive research of a plethora of documents on hundreds of website and numerous repositories. Fortunately, access to colleges, universities, libraries, local and national archives and other subject specific entities are now available online for researchers.
I began research on my family history several years ago for a family reunion. I thought it would be a simple task of finding my grandparents and great grandparents. To my surprise, what was a three-generation history became ten generations. Unsatisfied with just producing a family tree, I decided to treat my findings as the start of an historical genealogical narrative.
Finding individuals in an era is not enough. Each person is a part of a family, and wider community. These constitute an individual’s social location that drives their economic, political and social lives. Consequently, individuals are seen in historical context.
Cross Roads is a story of my ancestors. I have attempted to identify with their experiences for empathy and sympathy. Sometimes it seems they are sitting on my shoulders.
I have selected to concentrate on the Cross side of the family beginning with West Cross the patriarch and ending with the death of my great-grand mother, a former slave, Rebecca Marrow the wife of Samuel Cross. Although the Cross ancestors are a primary focus, the Marrow family is a secondary focus as the wife of Samuel Cross and an interval part of the family history.
This investigation intensified after discovering the names of my great-great grand-parents Amos Cross and Eliza Cross on the Marriage Certificate of Samuel Cross and Rebecca Marrow. With this knowledge in hand I went to the Family Research Center in Maryland, a place I was familiar with from previous research.
Through my research at the “Center” I Obtained a copy of the Barbour Collection of Marriages and found Amos Cross and Eliza Gilbert. Amos and Eliza married in Hartford Connecticut on September 6, 1832. Amos was in Griswold Connecticut in 1832, the year of his marriage and his wife Eliza Gilbert lived in Middletown Connecticut. I was surprise to discover Amos and Eliza were free Blacks. I knew nothing of free Blacks in this era living in Griswold or Middletown Connecticut. I turned my attention to exploring the history of Griswold and Middletown.
Amos and Eliza made their home in Hartford Connecticut. I knew Hartford was a key to be unlocked since my mother and aunts always said their father Anderson Cross was from Hartford Connecticut.
This discovery led to unveiling West Cross, the patriarch of the Cross family, in South Kingstown Rhode Island.
A complete history can be found in the book.