Friday, December 23, 2011

Family History Addiction

Years ago, my mother and one of my aunts started to do some serious research on our family history. They produced sizable notebooks that could be easily updated. Eventually, they were able to trace the family far beyond the American Revolution and back to Europe.

It was a major but invaluable project. There are English, German, and French branches on my side (with some Irish and Scottish as well) while my wife's family brings in Hungarians and Slovenians. There are rumors of a Turk but they have not been confirmed.

The entire process resembled a detective story, complete with dead-ends, skeletons in the closet, and breaks. At one point, my aunt contacted a German priest about some records and learned that the German side of the family was conducting its own search. They soon joined forces and huge amounts of information began to go back and forth across the Atlantic.

One of my sisters has now jumped into the game and is making rapid progress. It is an odd hobby, but thoroughly addictive. Once you find an ancestor out there on the fringes, you immediately wonder, "Where's the rest of that family?"


John said...

Many years ago one of my uncles who lived in Massachusetts did some digging at the Library and discovered the family had an ancestor who came on the Mayflower. When he mentioned it to my grandmother, presuming it might be important to her she said, "Yes. We knew about him," and seemed to want to drop the matter. Seems the guy was an indentured servant and also got into a fight soon after he arrived and had to be punished for his behavior. So my grandmother was not going to claim him.

I took an interest in our genealogy during high school days and discovered that my parents shared a third great-grandmother making them cousins, which neither of them had any knowledge of, having been born in different states (KY and GA). Since we all have thirty-two third great-grandparents it's not really a big deal but makes an interesting discovery.

Yesterday Dr. Phil featured a family, independent Mormons, consisting of one dad, three wives and twenty-four children!

As the song says, the times they are a-changing.

Michael Wade said...


Several wild stories have emerged in our family research. It's like an accountant with two sets of books. You always want to get the unexpurgated version.