|Ancient Gaelic Proverb |
This post is going to be a little different than the previous ones. Something I am very passionate about is genealogy. I love discovering a part of who I am, where my family came from, how their lives crossed paths, and learning that I am not so different than my ancestors. I love hearing stories about them. I love the mystery. And most of all, I love seeing my older relatives light up when talking about their childhood. I could sit there all day and just absorb every word they say.
|My very own |
classic family photos
to come in this post!
My mother's side of the family have been known to save pictures, pass on photographs from the past, and even pass along many items from our ancestors down to younger generations. My mom currently has a trunk FULL of cool stuff handed down to her by my grandmother. Plus, many cousins, my aunt, and my mom have been very adamant about getting our genealogy. It's been a real pleasure sharing with my family what we've all discovered. Family reunions are all about sharing photographs of new ancestors we've discovered, sharing stories about our distant relatives we've found, and clarifying questions we all have about certain relatives.
Travis's side of the family has had some difficulty in tracing their family history. Not going to lie, it's kind of like searching for a needle in a haystack. Travis's grandmother was adopted, so it's not easy finding records of her mother and father. Travis's grandfather on his father's side is getting older. There are no other relatives his age still alive. And when I talk to him about the family, he gets confused or lost in conversation sometimes. Genealogy isn't always linear, so it's easy to get lost when talking.
|My beautiful Greats.|
Something I've always wanted to create are genealogical books about my family. I want my children to know where they come from. I'm proud of our ancestors. And the more I learn about them, the more I wish I had known them because I grow to love them. It's like falling in love with a character in a book, except this time, you know the character was once a living, breathing human being in this world in a another timeframe and that they are a part of you.
I haven't found the right albums yet to use. I'm kind of picky because I want these suckers to last decades. It'd be like scrapbooks that I can pass on to my children, they can pass on to their children, and so on. I also thought about making a website for my family tree to help me keep track of information I find at the genealogical library, in microfilms, or from online forums. That way, I can easily share this information with any of my family members.
|My great-aunt Wanda with her brothers (my great-uncles).|
I love this picture so much!
Ancestry.com isn't all that bad actually. I found a long distant cousin that way. However, don't believe everything you see. Cross your T's and dot your i's. Make sure it's the same person you are looking for. The best way to get the right person is to work your way backwards.
Say you know the name of your grandfather's dad. Start with his name and find out where the man is buried. Grandpa more than likely knows! You will get his birth date and death date from the headstone and if he was in the military forces, what type he was in.
Start with the death date and look for census records that co-orelate with your grandfather and the man you are searching for. This will tell you where the man lived while your grandfather lived with him, who else lived with him and how old he was at the time of the census.
|Here is the death certificate of my great-great grandmother Burzilla.|
She is almost impossible to find because of her unique name.
Notice, her death certificate doesn't even provide her correct name.
If you know his wife's name, which is probably on your grandfather's birth certificate, find the marriage certificate.
If there are any markings on the headstone for being in the military forces, find his military records.
|My great-great-great grandpa "Andy" Foster was involved in the Civil War |
but in a guerilla gang with the legendary Champ Ferguson.
Here is a copy of his military prison record. He was a Confederate soldier.
Now that you have important documents to verify who it is you are searching for, search for a census record for every year the man was alive. Start with the year he died and work your way backwards until he was born. You will find his parents' names as well as his siblings, their ages, and where they lived.
The farther back you date your family, the harder it will be to find this information. The headstone may not exist anymore. If one does, you might not be able to read it (which is why you bring a paper and pencil to trace over the headstone). If you still cannot read it, or no dates are listed on it, then you can resort to church records to find this information. And don't forget, family friends are a resource! We've met complete strangers that remembered our ancestors and told us stories and shared pictures of our own relatives. It's amazing what family friends can provide about your own family.
|Here is my great-great grandfather with his son (not my great grandfather).|
This photo was given to me by this son's family line.
Another not-so-helpful tip - back in the day, not many people could read and write. So names could possibly be spelled differently or entirely incorrect. For example, my grandmother's name is Oleda. It's spelled Oleta, Olida, and Oleda. The one with the d is actually correct, but I research all spellings. Another example is my great-great grandmother - whose headstone reads "Sylvia." However, her name was Zilpha. My family didn't have the money to change her headstone with the correct name. With a deep southern accent, Zilpha sounded like Sylvia - and her nickname Zilph sounded like Jeff. Totally confusing - but always be open to unique spellings of names and talk to family and friends about these individuals to find the correct names. Remember, family knows best. In the case of remembering those who have passed - your family will know who you should be researching.
|Here is a great picture that my great-aunt Wanda gave to my mother|
who then passed on a copy to me. This is one of my favorite pictures
of my great-aunt Juanita with her husband, my great-uncle Keith
from when they were my age currently.
If anyone has any questions about researching genealogy, feel free to ask me. I love it - and I'll love to help in any way I can. I don't know everything about genealogical research, but I know who to ask and where to go to help find that information.
For my birthday, people bought me gifts that would contribute to my genealogical albums. I cannot tell you how excited I am. It's going to take some time because I have about 1000 or more photographs to scan to put into these albums. Then I have to organize all of my information into a legible book/scrapbook/documentation about each individual with photographs. It's not going to be easy - but it will be so much fun! I can't wait to get crackin'.
P.S. If someone shares with you a professional picture - you cannot get a copy made at CVS, Wal-Mart or any other photo lab. They require documentation from the photographer saying it is ok for you to make copies of the picture. I know, it's ridiculous when you have a professional picture from 1880, but it's the rules to prevent copyright and to protect photographers. As my mother put it when they denied her access to copy photos, she asked, "What do you want me to do? Go dig him up?" Haha - sorry mom, it's the rules. You'll have to scan those and print them out at home.
|This photo of one of my greats could not be printed |
through a photo lab without permission
from the original photographer.
I'll end this post there as I could go on forever talking about my family history. I am so excited to start putting my "Family Volumes" together. It's going to take a while before it will be "perfect" enough to share with all of you. Please be patient with me. EEKK!