In 1984 a college class required my doing some family tree work. To my surprise, there were some mysteries to be solved. I was also surprised by the candor and desire to share history from my great aunts and uncles.
There were some sad stories to discover, absorb and close. Which was a very healing process.
Spending time with my great uncle Walt was some of the most fun I've had. I hope I never forget listening to his stories and debating with him over whiskey and waters, his friend Jimmy Hoffa! All of a sudden history was alive!
Back in the 80's we had to do everything by hand, at library's and pulling books off the shelves and sorting through newspapers, going to court houses, driving back roads to out of the way cemeteries and to small little towns. I've even been up in the attic of an old Masonic Lodge, going over record books!
After my own family life changed, I dropped the family search until the late 90's. At that time, instead of using family tree programs and memberships, you went to county and state web sights and more and more became available.
Ancestry became a gold mine.
Who would have ever thought DNA would come forward?
Since getting back into this, I have become a huge history freak. To look for ancestors, I try to read about what was transpiring during their life time and what was happening in their home towns.
Having many ancestors that have been in in the USA since the colonies, I have become closer to my country's history and the struggles that it took to provide me with my blessings today. Did they know? No, but non the less, I appreciate the life they have provided me. And, knowing how they struggled then, gives me hope for tomorrow.
One of the most important things I have learned by doing this family history, is that one incident can and does effect a family for generations That old family secrets, which you are sure to find somewhere, often reflect on a family for generations. One person or one couples wrong choice or mistake can remove future family members from the rest of their history, leaving them disconnected. There is SO MUCH more than someones mistakes! Bad luck or bad choices. So getting information, understanding the facts and getting past "them" is most rewarding and healing! Family secrets keep those involved the focus, the legacy. SO, I strongly urge anyone, to get past any shadows, any old negative opinions and discover for yourself, find the joy, empathy, truth, understanding on your own and hopefully, you too will be amazed. How did your family cope, what we're their accomplishments, the strengths and weaknesses? What talents do you find? It's a wild ride, good and bad and amazing and the story of life. And, if your old enough, you can learn by someone else's mistakes and success. And, you can see a change of course you might want to take.
Somehow, it's celebrating humanity and hope and love for one another. At least for me.
June 2017 well I downloaded most of the gedcoms that I needed from ancestry and have most of it on my computer. Some of the more personal trees on Ancestry I deleted. Now, I will work hard at becoming a master resource on Wiki tree, promise.
Have you taken a DNA test? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.