For the past year I have spend endless hours on Ancestry.com. This is a great tool to research your family back literally hundreds of years. It provides copies of census records , marriage certificates , death certificates and what I really spend the most time on which is military records. It is suprising how many of our ancestors fought and died just to have their stories lost over the generations. These people really believed in the American dream.
Check out this story on Major McDowell.
Joseph McDowell (1756-1801). During the American Revolution, he joined and was promoted to Major. He was credited with formulating the plan for the "Overmountain Men" for North Carolina militia to pursue British Col. Patrick Fergouson. This lead to the Battle of Kings Mountain. He went on to serve the state in the political arena—both serving in the state legislature and the Constitutional Conventions, and serving two terms in Congress.
The movie , The Patriot , drew its inspiration from this battle from the American Revolution.
Major Joseph Oneal McDowell , my 5th Great Grandfather
God Bless America !!!