One Place Studies:
One Names Studies:
I can't remember a time when I didn't love history. I was entranced with reading stories about ordinary people who became immortal through their acts of honor and courage and through love and loss, who showed great fortitude and moral strength in the face of fierce adversity. I also enjoyed reading about how our country was formed and managed to flourish amidst war, disease and poverty. There were so many stories of personal triumphs and disasters, that I wanted to discover the stories in my own family's history. Who were these people that had passed their DNA down to me and my parents and my children? What mark had they made on our own personal history?
I started my research while I was still in high school. My maternal great-grandparents, Peter Petersen and Nilsine Kristine Jorgensen had both been born in Denmark and their daughter, my great-aunt Frances, had spent quite a bit of time in Denmark, copying information from the old church records, so that line had already been done for me.
My mother and her 3 sisters were interested in learning their father's Flaugher ancestry, so they had written quite a few letters to distant cousins and consulted various histories in the Hagerstown, Maryland area. Their work was a collaboration done with the help of many Flaugher descendants which also included my grandfather's McGrew ancestry. As to the rest, little had been discovered. It's been a challenge to build on their research and discover new lines as I tackled family names like Taylor and Miller throughout the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Iowa.
As for my father's ancestry, his mother's parents were both born in Germany. Her father, Melchior Benedix, came from Saxony and is my brick wall until I can afford to travel to Germany someday to discover his history.
It's been over (ahem) 30 years now since I first figured out how to load the microfilm reels on those old readers with the dim bulbs and quirky focus knobs. I've sneezed my way through countless dusty tomes, learned the art of reading archaic handwriting and ruined my eyes in the process, forever thankful as more and more records were added to the internet.
My father's paternal line has brought me the most excitement and joy as it dates back to the Dutch in 1600's New Amsterdam, the earliest English in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and the early Puritan Migration. I descend from ancestors on both sides, accuser and accused, of the Salem Witch Trials. I have ancestors who took part in every war fought on American soil and a few who fought for America in foreign parts. Along the way, I've found a few skeletons in the closet to add some spice.
To that age-old question my long-suffering husband has finally stopped asking, "When will you be done?" My answer is... "There is always a new name to be discovered, a new date to be found and hundreds of sources to be added!"
During all those years of research, I managed to find time to major in History in college, get married, raise two sons, become a fairly good cook, teach middle school, play keyboard in a band and for church, get my certification as a genealogist from 1997-2006, which required me to write articles and attend seminars, sometimes as the teacher and sometimes as the student. I am listed on countless websites as a contributor and volunteer. Most recently, I worked as a Technical Librarian for the Navy, supplying updated curriculum requirements for a training school before moving to Japan this summer. I've also lived in Washington state, North Dakota, Minnesota, Hawaii, California, Texas and Virginia.
I am happy to have found WikiTree. Having grown disillusioned with the amount of misinformation on the internet perpetuated by uninformed people, it's exciting to find a place where serious researchers can collaborate and not just copy each other's work.
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