From the time I first asked, "Mama, where did I come from?", I have always been aware of the universal need to connect and belong. Through the years, I've found myselfasking questions. Who were my ancestors? What was going on in the world when each one was living? What real-life experiences did each one have? All the while I did not realize it would ever be possible to trace my line back to the beginning of mankind!
With enthusiasm and determination, I set out to find my paternal Alexander family line. My first visit was to the local LDS Family History Center in the small community where I live. It was there in that friendly and helpful environment where I made my first discovery of a book by Dr. F.A. Sondley entitled, The Descent of Scottish Alexanders.
First of all, Dr. Sondley went back to the early history of mankind, and condensed the genealogy of Alfred the Great from Asser's Life of Alfred the Great. The Anglo- Saxon Chronical provided the original records from which Asser worked during Alfred's lifetime. Asser, a Welshman, was Alfred's biographer. He worked with Alfred, other learned Englishmen and foreign scholars, to translate the early Latin. Since the original work had been destroyed, it was necessary for Asser to rely on these additional sources and authorities.
Dr. Sondley also condensed an account given in Roger of Wendover's Chronical, which likewise relied on the Anglo-Saxon Chronical, but survived in its original form for future generations. Dr. Sondley there lists the name of God first, followed by Adam, and then continues part way down the family line!
The introduction to The Anglo-Saxon Chronical contains the following powerful statement:
"Philosophically considered, this ancient record is the second great phenomenon in the history of mankind. For, if we accept the sacred Annals of the Jews, contained in the several books of the Old Testament, there is no other work extant, ancient or modern, which exhibits at one view a regular and chronical panorama of a PEOPLE, described in rapid succession by different writers, through so any ages, in their own vernacular languages."
As I look back over the years I spent researching my Scotch-Irish Alexander family, there is no doubt in my mind that I got off on the right foot! Dr. Sondley provided the framework from which I was able to launch my research on the Scotch-Irish Alexander family. Furthermore, the early background he gives is relevant to all family historians, no matter what their given family name.