Have you ever wondered where you came from and I don’t mean that birds and bees stuff, if you don’t know that yet talk to your parents. I mean where did your family originate? Who were your grandparents, what did they do for a living and who were their grandparents. The journey to find answers can be long, but solving the mysteries of your family tree is exciting. I hope that I will be able to start you on the path.
But Beware! You may find out things you didn’t want to know.
When you explore your family tree you are also exploring history. Things that are normal today were not the norm in the eighteenth century. Customs change, traditions change, names change and your ancestors were not perfect. Stuff happens and families either pull together or fall apart. If you are easily embarrassed than genealogy is not for you.
I have often said in the genealogy class that I taught that the family homestead has not moved a single inch in the 200 years since my family settled there but its address has changed more than ten times. It has been in different counties, townships and towns, but the house has not moved. The family names have been misspelled, changed, shortened and altered many times.
Still interested? Then grab a large pad of paper, a pencil with a good eraser and start writing:
- your parents names, birth and death dates and places where they lived
- aunts, uncles names and places where they lived
- your grandparents info
- stories your parents and relatives told about the family
- family legends
- place names you heard mentioned as a child
Be prepared to spend hours talking to relatives, listen, write it down and never, ever correct them. Next time we’ll talk about what to do next.