The Narrative Lineage

There are two major problems with telling this story.

  1. Every generation of Bakers has multiple sons, and those sons all name their sons the same names; and
  2. Trying to find the narrative lines that tell the story I want to tell.

The first problem is actually the most complex. While we have copious amounts of historical notes, there are moments when even the historians are lost as to which Baker is actually involved in an endeavor. Plus, there are moments when the historians throw up their collective hands and speculate as to why there are gaps in the historical record.

This is particularly troublesome when groups of brothers travel together with their families, leading to two generations (and sometimes three) of Samuels, Andrews, Calebs, Johns, and Abners.

The second is a bit less troublesome since I have a clear idea of the story I want to tell (and this isn’t the complete and exhaustive history of the Bakers).

Still, this means I must first work out the lineage patters and then dig through the archives to find the specific stories I need to find.

This week, I begin that process in the Clay County Geneological & Historical Society. The main focus on my task: trace the lineage of education and government distrust within my family, each of which are tied to the larger narrative of poverty.

Less than two weeks after I return, I will spend a week in Lancaster, Pennsylvania while I dig through archives and interview people about early American gun smithing for which my family is well known.

A fun side note:

Robert Baker, the first registered gunsmith in Lancaster, was apparently so renowned for his abilities that he was called back to England to train gunsmiths how he crafted what would become the Pennsylvania Rifle, a gun that was accurate to 200 feet. This coincides with King William’s War and Queen Ann’s War, which were part of the French and Indiana Wars.

This was somewhere between the time he left Boston and the time he arrived in Lancaster. Baker’s emergence in the Pennsylvania scene with a large gap in his American footprint led some historians to believe he may have been a Baker from the English line that didn’t come to America.

That assumption was faulty.