It was a cold December evening in 2007. My wife and I were recently married in August, and we had only found out that she was pregnant a few weeks before. We were in the process of gutting and remodeling nearly the entire first floor in our new home. It was a 1927 Sears Craftsman home, and the age was starting to show on the inside. Despite the enormous amount of construction work left to do on the house, I was taking a break, thinking about the many things I wanted to be able to share with our new son as he grew up (yes we decided to find out early that it was a boy).
As my mind wandered from various hobbies and sports that I wanted to introduce to my son, it came to rest momentarily on something a little more enduring. I wanted him to know his family. Not just my wife and I, or even his grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I wanted him to know where he came from. I wanted him to know the things I didn’t even know. I wanted him to know who his great-great grandparents were. I wanted him to know the struggles and joys. I wanted him to know the history of our family: his genealogy.
It then began to come back to me: the bits and pieces I had been told throughout my childhood. Admittedly, my parents didn’t know much about their family history, beyond their own experiences and a few stories they had been told about my grandparents. I didn’t want this for my son. I wanted him to have the full story. I made the decision to start looking into our genealogy.
I set out that night on a journey that has not ended yet. I hope it will continue for the rest of my life. I began researching. At first, I didn’t know how to start. I started combing through websites. I didn’t have a system, but it didn’t matter to me then. I was finding little bits and pieces. I came across a tree that had been assembled by a second cousin of mine. I didn’t even know she existed, but it was a thrill. I never thought about the possibility that I had relatives out there that I didn’t know. As it turned out, this second cousin was quite experienced at researching her ancestry, and had built an extensive record of her family history. I was very fortunate indeed to be able to tap into that enormous amount of family history.
The excitement of finding my own history was beyond my expectations. I love history, and I love my family, but I had never imagined that learning about my own family’s place in history would be so much fun. From that point I was hooked on genealogy.
I have since become more sophisticated in my techniques. I finally did get around to setting up a system of storing the pieces of information that I found. Though I still have a lot to learn about my family history and genealogy in general, I am proud of the small amount of information I have been able to gather.
This is the first part in a series I will be writing. I hope to convey not only my own research on this blog, but also my experiences and in doing so, relive the excitement of the journey so far.
Other blog posts in this series:
My Genealogical Foundation