I’ve been doing genealogy for a long time. It wasn’t until the internet and the exploding availability of old records that there’s been the progress I’ve managed to have the last several years.
There has always been an interest in the past for me. Who were those people who came before me? What were their lives like? Where did they come from? Why did they come here? Where did their children go? Are there more people related to me I’ve never known or heard about? How do their lives intertwine with history? Things like that and more have pushed me to dig into the background of my family.
Then for no apparent reason my spouse asked me to see if I could find anything on their family. One of my mother-in-law’s sisters had put together some of the information, no documentation, but mostly right and it was a place to start. There had been a good bit of boast about her family, but nothing about my father-in-law’s people. So the search was on. It’s been beyond interesting, fascinating, compelling both fit and yet more than any of those. It’s been a grand puzzle to solve and it’s led a crooked course across part of America and eventually back to England then Europe. I will not bring the living into this as they would not appreciate it and I would find that too much of an invasion of their privacy.
In the process of the digging, the spouse’s ex also asked me if I’d see what I could find about their family. That too turned into a great puzzle to solve.
What it all amounted to was they both wanted their kids to have some connection to the history of their ancestors and the greater history those lives took place within. My own family are not included because another relative is working on that and has been for more than twenty years and I don’t want to interfere with any publishing they might intend.
I have not attempted to acquire the actual documents from the various state vital records departments, the images and transcriptions have been enough, if the various family members want them they will have to either come up with the necessary funding or order them on their own. The proof is there and that’s sufficient for now. I had thought to become certified in the field, but they want regional specialization and having seen what I’ve dealt with so far, there’s no way to specialize in an area. They also want actual documents and for you to have dug through file drawers in courthouses and other places which is prohibitive for me at this time, they want you to answer a research question, and other things that, while I suppose it proves you’re serious, seems to me to be extraneous and somewhat pompous. So I’ll keep working hard and making sure the sources I do have are the right ones, find more and do the very best I can. Maybe I will eventually be able to do the certification.
I know what I’m doing, I’m pretty good at it too and seem to have a facility for making intuitive leaps that prove right more often than not. I’m mostly interested in the lives these people lived, the descendants they left, maybe some of them might even be interested in connecting with family members who didn’t know there were related.
I haven’t finished yet, I doubt that it’s possible to actually finish something like the kind of massive undertaking this has been. The number of people keeps growing the more information I find. A grand and fascinating investigative journey I’m enjoying.