April 20th, 2002
When I began this project of creating a family web site, my goal was simple – to provide a mechanism to display pictures for the enjoyment of our parents and grandparents and give them a way to keep connected with our children. Soon, after I began researching our family’s genealogy, I realized how scant is the available information about our Franklin and Tepera ancestors. From this, I came to the conclusion that a family web site like this one could serve a much greater purpose.
In essence, franklinfamily.info is an expression of the love I have for my wife and my children. First, its purpose is to capture and document the uniqueness and simplicity of our family lives from this beginning to our end. Secondly, its purpose is to salute our fore bearers, relatives and future descendants.
If it wasn’t for the few hand written family trees, stories, memories, war and census records that have been passed to us in conversations, cardboard boxes and book covers we would absolutely have no knowledge of our roots. Very few people are so interesting and become so famous that an interest in their life develops motivating others to generate a historical record that survives their generation. Certainly most of my ancestors, like those of millions and millions of other families, were not exceedingly interesting and famous and therefore, not much effort went into documenting their lives.
It has been very inspiring to research the life of my Great Grandfather, Sol Franklin and compare his challenges and obviously high degree of mental and physical strength to mine. What I found is that Sol Franklin was a very brave and ambitious man who immigrated to America from the Posen region of Prussia at the age of 21 sometime before the year 1860. In April of 1860, Sol enlisted to become a soldier in the Confederate army. I am not proud of my Confederate heritage and despise its purpose. During the span of the civil war he was shot and wounded three times and remarkably survived to become a successful grocery store owner and Postmaster, marry and raise nine children before his death in 1889.
When I think about the confidence and strength Sol Franklin must have had to live during this dreadful period in comparison to my challenges, I feel both a sense of triviality and tremendous inspiration to know that a part of him is in me. I do not believe in the cause Sol Franklin fought for and feel somehow he was exploited, having became a confederate soldier at the age of 22, within a year or so of his immigration to America. I would like to think he was forced to join and did not volunteer. Maybe if his ship had landed in one the northern ports and not New Orleans, I would have a Union history.
I also feel a sense of sadness in not being able to know more about this man and hope that my descendants will be more informed about my lifetime. With the advent of affordable digital technology, any of us can bridge the gap of the famous and not so famous to create living and comprehensive autobiographical records. From this insight a greater sense of purpose has developed for our family web site.
In these times many common people like ourselves have the ability to create everlasting multimedia deluges that can be visited and studied by family members, descendants and future generations for many years, decades and even centuries to come – ad nauseam. The true purpose of this family web site has evolved to that of creating and maintaining a place that captures and records our lives as one segment of many lives in a very long continuum of Franklin’s and Franklin family branches hence and to come. I truly hope that my children will grow up wanting to continue this tradition and proudly pass it on to their children and those of many generations to come.
Tod Griggs Franklin