About ten years ago, I was introduced to genealogy. From that moment on, I have loved learning about my family's history. Before that, my ears would perk up when I heard a name and a relation; nothing to cause me to stop and listen. I have the internet to thank for this love I have.
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All in the Family - Genealogy
Part of my father's paternal family tree was presented to the family in the late eighties. It was neat seeing the names and dates and some faces in photos of those whom the older generation talked about. In the nineties my father's maternal family tree was presented. My grandmother had tons of photos of her family, and we had a few names along with dates. When this was presented I was a little curious about names and how far back the tree went, but that was it.
My third year teaching fifth grade, a friend of mine and I were talking about our family's history. I told her a little (what I knew) about my family and she went on to tell this awesome story about her family. I was a little surprised; this lady knew so much about her family and she was able to share it. I explained our family branches on my father's side, but for my mother, there was nothing known. I went on to tell her how my grandmother never really told anything about her family, so my mom really did not know much past her grandparents. She laughed and said that she used the internet to find out everything she knew. That day I was introduced to Ancestry.com and Rootsweb.com.
Because of the costs using Ancestry, I went straight to Rootsweb. I was shocked at the plethora of information found on this site. My mom's paternal family tree popped right up when I typed in a name and a possible date. I spent several months researching this branch in the tree and was amazed at learning her father's family is from Ireland and the first person to come to the US, came as an indentured servant. The maternal family branch has been a little difficult to track down. I've spent several years working off and on finding any information that I could about her family. I am still at a road block on the maternal side of my grandmother.
At the first of May, I was asked if I am still working on our family tree. I quickly nodded yes, but in my heart I was saying, "I haven't touched it in a year." About a week ago, my sister asked me about someone in the tree and I felt like a dumb bell because I knew that I needed to check the information.Truthfully, I get discouraged when I have used all my resources and nothing new appears for months, so I pack everything away, until I feel the inspiration to look again. I did just that.
This week I pulled out my huge notebook and our Family Bible and I began researching. I also saw where Ancestry was offering a free 14 day trail. YEP, I signed up for the 14 days and began working. Would you believe after a year, I was able to find tidbits of information which caused me to search some other websites? I even found photos of my some of my mom's ancestors. I was doing a happy dance, I tell ya!
Within the 10 years of research, I have learned valuable lessons.
Learn all you can about your family.
Share the information with others.
Teach your children about their family's history; don't leave them in the dark.
Gather the information in either a software, book, disc ~something, so it can be handed down. Don't hoard pictures, letters, newspaper clippings, etc. There are others who would love to see them and have them.
Last night, my sweet son came and sat beside me at the computer wanting to see what I was working on. I showed him just a few of the people who are searching or have searched for the same person in our family. He was amazed at how many people are actually related to each other.
Family genealogy is definitely going to be part of our homeschool curriculum from now on. I want my son to be able to relate happy, sad, funny and weird experiences to his children and grandchildren one day.