Genealogy... (Marisa, Tina, & anyone interested)

20 posts / 0 new
Last post
Genealogy... (Marisa, Tina, & anyone interested)

I didn't want to post this rather long post in the introduce yourself thread... It seemed kind of out of place there. smiley

Marisa, Tina, & I started a tad of a discussion on the topic of Genealogy. I wanted to shared some of my thoughts on their questions and comments.

I truly understand the overwhelming part, especially as far as the actual written genealogy part of it. It becomes even more difficult when you get back to a part of your family coming over into Ellis Island and just 1-2 more generations back into another country that you don't live in currently. A lot of the time you find that you will get "stuck" because a church burned down that use to house all the information on families and the history of a town, especially since other countries managed those records differently way back then.

Tina: I agree that it does get VERY confusing, due to the first names being used over & over again in the same family lineage. It gets even more crazy when the nicknames they went by (were known by) in real life are very different than any legal documents they were listed on. smiley
I think that is so cool that you found the drivers license to drive the buggy, how fascinating is that. smiley

Marisa: As far as the photos part, I wasn't privileged (unfortunately) to have too many other than a few through my great grandmother(s) smiley
So most of my layouts were just through the first four generations. The rest are just names from that point back, more or less typical pedigree style, unless I was told a specific story from my mother or grandmother, that they remembered or if I found something in my digging deeper.
Ex: I found a newspaper article on a great, great, great grandma's marriage on my granddaddy's side to a wealthy Paxton from Ohio. It was in the paper and mentioned the dowry given for her and her wedding gifts from her new father in-law... very interesting! I later found out the town isn't the same town it was called then. I can't remember the name right now, but I think it's basically an outskirt of Cincinnati now.
Another neat story I learned is that one of the men in my family (through family stories) back a couple generations was adopted as a young child and took the Paxton name (even though there were/are no legal records of the adoption) but the guy is in our family history and listed as a Paxton on various census in the 1800's. I guess back then they could just take in a child due to parents passing so young due to diseases, etc and raise them as their own???

Anywho... I love the topic of genealogy and hearing about peoples unique stories or interesting finds in their own past! Does anyone remember that tv show a little while back? It was about movie stars and their genealogy and finding the "ghosts in the closet" so to speak. I can't think of it right now, but it was a really NEAT show!!!


Thanks Shawna for starting this. I'm sure lots of people are doing some sort of family genealogy. I'm impressed with your researching so far back. I'm just trying to keep my aunts and uncles straight! I'm hoping to get them to write a little in the future. Probably won't be an easy task. So any tips on getting people to write for you would be appreciated (or good prompts). It's tricky for me because I don't actually live in the States, so I can't go knock on the door and say "write!" I have to try and influence them by email. But maybe they will surprise me and write back quick. I think they are all at least interested in my "secret" project and what my come out as a result. And they're getting older, so I think they're happy someone's showing some interest.

That's exactly what happened for me... once they found out someone in the newer/younger generation was actually interested in our genealogy... A lot of them were like "have I got a story for you?" smiley I got really far on my husbands side quickly because his family had lived in the Nashville, TN area for almost 200 years, and his family had done a lot of the work already and gladly shared it with me.
My side was a different story... someone even had a hardbound printed genealogy book that was written on my moms dad's side back to the homelands and because she was an only child of my aunt and my mom was and only child of her aunt... (my grandma & her sister were close) but my moms cousin didn't like my mom and refused to help me get a copy of the book or even the info to get another one printed. She said only 25 copies were ever made and no one really knew where they even were and she paid 1000's of $$ for it... {{{pbbbbt}}} :-p So I was like thanks for what you did tell me and moved on to my own research.

On my husbands side (btw: we both have 7 siblings) his mom & dad are in their 80's and we sat down and did a video interview with them many years back. I can see if I can find the list of questions I came up with in my paper files eventually. We moved recently so it may take me a bit to put my hands on it. smiley But it was great! My husband plans to eventually create a video along with other stuff to share with all the siblings when his mom & dad pass away. It was cool for me because I learned a LOT about how my in-laws grew up first hand from them. BUT it spurred my father in-law on to write his memoirs and just two christmas' ago he gave each of our families a copy of way more detailed stories of his life than I could have ever imagined to even ask about. We got so lucky smiley

Anyway, ALL that to say I think you will be pleasantly surprised when you start asking questions about their lives. People, as a human race just naturally LOVE to talk about ourselves, especially if we think it will help our future generations. I say GO FOR IT and ask away...

That's a good idea about the video. I'm hoping to have books made for all the aunts and uncles next summer (we're having a family reunion), but it might be fun to film them answering questions and then make a video after the fact. Something to think about!

Genealogy, a great topic. I started more than 15 years ago and have gathered more than 20 gigs of documents, pictures, and information.

While my mother was still alive she loved to talk on the phone. I would let her know something that I found and that would spark a story or more information that lead to even more leads.

It also helped that a cousin who started searching my father's side more than 50 years ago sent my father a letter. Although he had already passed on I did write him. We shared and the wealth of information that I received from him was fantastic. I was able to prove most of what he sent me.

I also received a book that was written by a family member in a round about way. I was contacted by a cousin through the information I placed on an genealogy site. She received a copy of a book that was written by a cousin. Who was my great.. gr.. grandfather's nephew. He traveled back to where the family came from in his old age and left the book with him a young man. He made a copy of the book for our cousin who also lives in the US. She scanned the book and sent me a copy of it. What was neat was that there was a few pages about my gr.... grandfather in it. I wrote the cousin and told him about the book and asked him if he would like a copy of it. To my surprise he told me that the book had come from him. Needless to say the book had a lot of great information in it.

I have made many family connections throughout the years which has given me more information than I found on any web site. I also received documents and pictures. I now have some information that goes back to the 16 century. But there is still many broken paths, especially on the female side. At the moment I am working on putting together the information into several mini books that includes documents and pictures.

As to were family members came form. We may not have a lot of information

I had delved into genealogy research for a couple years... stopping sometime after my oldest child turned 2 as I just had my hands too full. And then the pc that I had all the data stored on (in family tree maker software) crashed. I still haven't gotten around to restoring that data. Really bummed as my mother took back all the paperwork my grandmother had collected, so I'll lose everything if I don't get around to restoring that some day. No one else in my family has been interested in genealogy, and the ones who could have told me anything & everything I wanted to know have passed away so I have hit a lot of roadblocks. For example, on the Austrian side of my family I have only been able to trace back my maternal great great grandfather backwards - from Boston to Canada to England. I'd love to trace him from England all the way back to Austria (think that part is now in the hands of Italy), but I've hit a dead end. According to my maternal great grandmother, who told this to my mother, he had a very long name & at some point dropped some of his names... I don't know the names of his parents or siblings - just the name of his wife (she was a widow), his 3 stepdaughters (from his wife's 1st marriage) & his 3 children. Both my maternal grandparents were only children, so no aunts/uncles/cousins to glean information from. And my maternal great grandmother's siblings are all deceased, too, so I'm at a loss there. Anyhow, when I get back into this again (someday - maybe when the kids are a bit older) I'll try to participate more in this forum. It's my hope to pass my research on to my kids so they know where they came from... And maybe we can meet/get to know a distant relative (6th cousin+) someday.

Lizanne, all is not lost, as long as the drive is still intact you can retrieve the files. With the neat portable scanners that you do not need a computer for, you can always get together with your mother or ask her to bring the documents.

After my mother passed the first thing I did was go through the large box she had with pictures and documents. I have scanned these and shared with my brothers and sisters. If I did not do that at the time all would have been scattered. As their intentions are good they take too long and in many cases forget where they stored everything.

It took me over 6 years of waiting till I finally found information about my gr grandmother and who her parents were. This led to more information, but there is still block there. There is so much new information being released everyday. But there are still many areas that refuse to release information. You have to go there to view the records.

Hope you are able to get back to your search.

Thanks, Judy. I wish I had had a scanner back then (I do now), as then I'd have a permanent copy. I tried to photocopy as much as I could, but the quality is not very good. And one of the things was this huge, fragile, wall "tree" chart on a blue background, that was written in handwriting that's hard to decipher (wish they had "printed" instead), so I couldn't really photocopy that (scanning wouldn't work either. Unfortunately my mother & I had a falling out several years ago & reconciliation doesn't look possible, so I don't think I will ever be able to get my hands on that material again. Crossing my fingers that I am able to recover that data... My first goal, however, is to transfer stuff from my old desktop to the new one before I do that. And then there's still that issue of time... I really think that hobby needs to take a backseat until my kids are more grown up before I pick it up again.

Can you give me advice on software for scanning pictures? I am currently using Picasa, but it is tedious because I have to go back to the import menu for each photo. Is there any good free software out there? Thanks.

@Tara: I started a thread for scanners here. Hopefully you'll get some answers to your question.

Just for those who don't know, regarding genealogy, many cities have LDS (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) family history centers where you can get all sorts of help finding records and info on your ancestors. The help is totally free and they have access to and other sites that you would have to pay for otherwise. smiley

Steph you don't have to leave your home to access LDS information. They have a wonderful web site. It is there that I found the information about my great grandmother.

Lizanne, good luck on retrieving your information.

Children are important. While mine were growing up I would search when I have a hour or two. But keep really good records of what I found, so that I did not search again. As well as kept a good to do list.

Hi Judy,
I know family search is available online, but you can get a lot more free help and access to other programs (like which costs over $300 if you buy it yourself) if you go to a center or church building that has access. Just hoping to help any who haven't gotten started, or don't know how to start. smiley

Thanks Judy, I checked out the site, it does not cost a thing and the wealth of information. A nice place to search.

I have been working with my cousin. She has been compiling everything. I have fun putting things together on paper to display. This site has given me some great ideas.

I need to add information from my husband´s side of the family to my genealogy information. Basic genealogy info has already been gathered by my brother-in-law... a big task off my shoulders as he has traced the family line back over 1000 years! On my side poor record keeping and The Troubles in N. Ireland have meant scarcely 4 generations smiley . However, thanks to an awesome cultural geography professor I have gathered some invaluable family information. She had us trace migrations and discover the motives behind them and we also had to interview our family members about various traditions, e.g. language spoken and slang, naming of children, religion, celebration of holidays, food, "coming of age" rites, dating and marriage patterns, family size and structure, death, education, work, the role of women in society, music and literature...

I learnt so much from interviewing my family and got quite a few surprises along the way. I then wrote about each tradition and how it has changed or stayed the same over the generations. Having specific questions really got people thinking and produced stories and general information that I don´t think I would ever have recieved without that project. I can´t wait to start interviewing my husband´s side of the family to find out all about their traditions so that I can give my daughter a genealogy scrapbook that will allow her to truly understand where she comes from.

Wow Karen! I can't imagine going back 1000 years!

Was this a college class you were taking? Or a community class? It sounds like it gave you lots of really useful information.

@Karen: It's exciting that you had someone encourage you to do all that and I would be ecstatic if I had a 1,000 years on one side. How lucky that your brother-in-law has that information and is so willing to share it.

@ Marisa and Shawna. It is really awesome to be able to go back so many years but also a little daunting since the reason he was able to go back so far is that they are descendants of Spanish royalty and hence can trace back along royal lineages which are well documented. I know some people are unfortunate and find some nasty skeletons in their closet but finding out that you married into a family descended from royalty can also be a bit of a shock for a working class girl.

As for the geography class, it was a GE class at a community college prior to transfer to a 4-year college and I actually ended up switching my major because of that teacher. Interviewing our families etc was our term project and it has to be the most fun and the most useful piece of work I´ve done in my entire educational career.