As I have gotten older I have found myself drawn to wonder more and more about the roots of my family. Probably in high school I started to ask questions and then in college I started to record the perspectives from grandparents as well as from sites on the Internet.
I find it interesting to think about helping my children understand what it means to be from our family and what made our family what it is today.
For me, I have enjoyed getting to hear the stories behind the stories by sitting and listening to my grandfather talking about working the county fair circuit with his father as he showed his prize Black Poland China Hogs (Blue Ribbon Winning). I loved hearing about my great grandfather on my mother’s side (whom I never knew) who made his own wine, but only drank it himself. All of these stories have been etched in my memories, and I hope to someday share them with my kids.
Many in my family have started turning to me for information about my family as I have tracked my family’s history (rather unscientifically) back to the early 1600’s. Most of this has been due to the help of the Internet and the help of others who are doing great research on their own families.
If you decide to try and research some of your family history, you need to go into this with an idea of how in depth you wish to go. Do you want to focus on one side of the family? How far off your main lineage do you want to extend yourself? Be careful in simply adding information from others as this may take your family tree to areas you never wished you had gone. Many people are very fanatical about how they do their genealogy. There are many purists our there that have to have documented proof for facts before they will add it to their family tree. For these people I say thank you, as I do not always have the time to do the document searching and fact finding myself.
Researching your family and connecting with others can open up your family to relatives you never knew existed. I have met many distant cousins through the medium of genealogy and have had some interesting conversations with them over the years and I am sure that you will as well.
Someday with all of the information that I have collected about our family I would love to be able to go and visit some of the areas where my family emigrated and immigrated from, but we will see what life allows!
For those of you that do wish to start researching or allowing your kids to start researching there are many great sites that will give you a boost. There are also a number of great software packages that will allow you to organize your information, pictures and the like in one place.
Family Tree Maker – http://www.familytreemaker.com/
There are many other great sites out there, many of which may be directly related to your family history. I encourage you all to talk to your kids about their families and work together to learn more about the past!
I look forward to seeing you back here again!