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In paleontology and archaeology, each of these fields deals with past history, past lives, and the uncovering of missing, forgotten, or unknown information. Though your ancestors may not have lived in a particular area of the world, they lived somewhere during a certain period of time, and their lives are part of the history for that time in that area. If they were not anywhere, then you are not here, because they had to come before you!

Archaeology uncovers all of history while genealogy uncovers just your own family’s history. Maybe your great great grandfather fought in the Civil War and never came home. He may have been killed in a small battle and his body was buried there in an unmarked grave. Little may be known about the battle or who was buried there. Then an archaeologist comes along, discovers the battle field, and finds the grave of your ancestor. It was not too long ago that a tourist at Gettysburg saw bones protruding from a dirt mound, and when the area was excavated by archaeologists, the body of a Union soldier was discovered. This soldier was somebody on someone’s family tree whose whereabouts had been unknown.

Though paleontology is a little farther afield than archaeology, in its relationship to genealogy, it still deals with previous history. The need to preserve and understand previous history is always important. One only has to look back in time to learn how important animals were in our lives. It was not uncommon to find the faithful family dog or the prize mules in the family portraits, because they were part of the family, and family’s lives often depended upon them for hunting or farming. To see examples of such family photographs and other family photographs of interest, click on the icon for Photographs. 

 Genealogy Photographs PHOTOGRAPHS  
Another example involves an archaeological excavation that one of us recently worked on. It was on the La Salle Shipwreck Project, of the Texas Historical Commission, which excavated the 311 shipwreck of the "Belle". This was the flag ship of the famous French explorer Rene Robert Cavelier Sieur de La Salle. Discovered in the bow of this ship during the excavation, on top of large coils of rope, was a skeleton. Though the identity of the person is not known, a pewter porringer was found near the skeleton, and the name C. Barrange was on it. One of our own researchers has the surname Berrong in his French lineage and could surname Barrange be related Berrong? Given the history of the Berrong family, perhaps, as it was an eventful one. One Henry Napoleon Berrong, along with his brother Boneparte Berrong, were kidnapped as boys in Bordeaux, France. This occured in the 1790’s, and they forced aboard a ship to work, only to escape with the help of a colored man escaping from the ship while it was moored in the harbor at Charleston, South Carolina. Did the boys just change the spelling of the name, as names were often Americanized, or did they not know how to spell their name in English? Could this Berrong be a relative to the Barrange name found about the La Belle? 

To learn more about the shipwreck of the La Belle, and archaeology, click on the icon for Archaeology below. 



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