In this book I have done my very best to faithfully and accurately record all of the
known descendants of John and Elizabeth Frazier Hutchison.

To produce this history I have talked at great length with dozens of people, consulted
many hundreds of books, and poured over literally thousands of old records.  My researches
have consumed many hours of my spare time over a period of about eight years.  I wish, then,
that I could say to you that what results from all of this effort represents the definitive history
of our family.  Unfortunately, it is not that.  The constraints of time and resources have
permitted me to only hint at areas that would require much additional research before firm
conclusions could be reached.  I should be greatly pleased if some future reader should find
these clues intriguing enough that they begin where I have left off and go on to unravel some
of the many mysteries that remain.

Were this book written primarily as a history book, I would have felt obligated to cite
the source for every opinion or fact.  Virtually every line would require a footnote and the
completed work would be more in the nature of a jeremiad than an exposition.  Thus
constrained this book would, I fear, be about as interesting as most other scholarly works.
Therefore, as I expect this book to be of personal and not academic interest, I have elected to
forego the burden of voluminous citations and references and will refer to them only when
their use is essential to the narrative.  The reader should be assured, however, that I have
made a diligent, good faith, effort to establish the accuracy of the material that is herewith
related.  When there is marked uncertainty about some issue, arising perhaps from an official
record that is silent on the question, or, as often occurs, from contradictory testimony, I will
make it clear that the issue is in dispute, cite the evidence, and invite the reader to draw his or
her own conclusions. 

Every genealogist must struggle with the ethical dilemma occasioned by his or her
desire to be factual while remaining sensitive to the feelings of others.  My first response was
to come down on the side of candor.  However, upon further deliberation, it occurred to me
that I am merely a self-appointed family historian and have not been commissioned to
conduct an expose of human foibles and failings.  These imperfections exist everywhere and
in such abundance that the reader motivated to find them will have no difficulty.  (In fact, it is
virtually certain that today's newspaper will be replete with the very latest examples of human
weakness.)  Like every other large family, ours contains it's share of those whose behavior has
been deviant, criminal, or, at the least, embarrassing.  If their deviancy or behavior has
become a matter of public record (perhaps through arrest), it may be considered to be in the
public domain and the repeating of it here is probably fair.  But there are many other areas
where the harsh glare of publicity has not shown and all concerned are better off if discretion
is observed.  It is fair then to say that I know considerably more than I feel I am at liberty to

No matter how faithfully we acquiesce in compliance with the customs of our own
times, we can be virtually certain that those who come later will see our views and behavior
as, at best, curious, and, at worse, as absurd.  The tendency of all people to view things
ethnocentrically and from a perspective of cultural relativism, insures that conventions
entirely appropriate to one age are suspect or silly in another.  Every age supposes itself to be
at the pinnacle of achievement and enlightenment and marvels at the impertinence of those,
usually the young, who suggest change.  Given the absolute certainty of cultural change,
however, what could be clearer than that anyone who authors a book of this type will have it
viewed and evaluated by future readers from a perspective very different from that of the
writer.  It is humbling to reflect upon the fact that these words, so carefully crafted and
sincerely intentioned, will, if they endure at all, come someday to be viewed as anachronistic
and quaint.   

Finally, to state the obvious; this book, like every human effort, is replete with errors.
I hope that they are only errors of fact, which can, of course, be corrected, and not errors of
taste or of judgement.  Be assured that your corrections and comments are not only welcome
but greatly encouraged.  Please feel free to write to me in care of the publisher.  I would be
honored to hear from you.

email me
This page was last updated on: April 14, 2008
The following is reproduced from the book, "Yesterday:  The Descendants of John Hutchison and Elizabeth Frazier of Attala County, MS," by Edward R. Hutchison.  In this introduction the author addresses several ethical issues of interest to genealogists, including the conflict between a researcher's desire for candor and the need to be respectful of the privacy of various family members.
Click here to view other information about "Yesterday"
Click here to visit the author's Home Page
Click here for info about the Hutchison family or Attala County
The song playing in the background is "One Day," an old gospel favorite of mine.
Refrain:  Living, He loved me, Dying, He saved me,
Buried, He carried my soul far away,
Rising, He justified freely forever,
One day He's coming--O glorious day!