My personal journey into the world of Genealogy began as a Boy Scout in the 1960’s in Indiana. After high school and college I was too involved in my own work and household to devote time to further research of my family tree. Besides, genealogy research in those days was hard! It required trips to libraries and court houses all over the country!
However, after my parents retired in the mid 1970’s they found that they enjoyed the search. Specifically, they visited aged family members and collected their recollections of the previous generations; they wrote notes on whatever was at hand – note paper, an old envelope, the back of a folder. They had several generations of ‘word of mouth’ family history; however, they had only one primary document: my great-great grandparents’ marriage license which they had made a copy of, and hand traced over the faint lettering.
I purchased my first computer-based genealogy program in the late 1980’s. My first project was to sift through the jumble of notes and scraps of paper that my parents provided me; and enter it into my DOS-based computer program. One of the items that was in that jumble was a genealogy of my mother’s family, hand-written by my grandmother – it was thirty pages long and she had written one for each of her thirteen living children!
On one of my parents’ travels, part vacation – part hopeful genealogy travel – they visited the Eastern Shore of Maryland where one branch of the family tree (my great-great-great grandfather) supposedly originated. As they stopped at a traffic light one evening in the pouring rain, they saw “Adkins Hardware” across the intersection. This was the family name of that GG Grandfather. It was raining too hard to consider getting out to investigate, but they did write down the phone number from the sign. When they reached their hotel room, they called and arranged to meet the owners. In that meeting they learned a couple very interesting things: 1) a member of the family there had done a massive amount of research on the descendants of one of the early forbearers of the family, and 2) that my 3G grandfather had “crossed the Alleghenies and was never heard from again.” So my parents were able to fill in a big gap in the family’s research, and they purchased a copy of the 500+ page book of all of the descendants of John Holloway.
I have since found and purchased a similar book recording the descendants of John Ashcraft. In each of these books, I found lineages tracing my family history back ten generations in America! My research has (with a reasonable degree of confidence) identified one set of multi-great grandparents who arrived on the Mayflower in 1620, another set of multi-great grandparents who were at the Jamestown Colony in 1616, plus ten multi-great grandfathers who served in the Revolutionary War.
Genealogy is not about the ‘bragging rights’, it’s about the stories you learn about your ancestors.
With my research my son is considering applying for the Sons of the American Revolution. But mostly, genealogy is about the stories you learn, or infer, from what your research provides. It is about the frontier family in which four of their ten children died in infancy; it is about the family in which the cause of death for four of the sons was ‘killed by Indians.’ It is also about the family with ten children that pulled up roots in the settled Monongahela valley to become the first settlers in Pike Twp., Coshocton Co., Ohio. It is about the ancestor who was acquitted of murder charges after throwing a rock and killing a man, because the man was threatening him with a musket – and a Native American man was the witness who saved him. It is about the 3G Grandfather who arrived in this country with his younger brother, not speaking English, and they became separated on the crowded docks – never to see each other again! It is about the lives, struggles, and successes of our own ancestors.
I would love to help you start on your journey to find your ancestors. Maybe it is a few generations, maybe more, maybe much more.
I can’t wait to hear from you, so we can get started right away, click HERE: