Genealogy is the research and study of your ancestry and heredity. Where are your family origins, what is their history, where did they live,what religions did they practice, what culture did they participate in, What names got handed down are all factors that make up Genealogy Research.
I have officially been researching my family since 1974, though I started asking questions a few years before that. I was trying to find out just the basics. My dad’s mother sent me some information on that side of my family and I could get little or no information out of my mother’s father. he gave me a few names and locations but not anything much to go on. There was no such thing as the Internet and Google, so I pretty much just collected the information and put it in a file.
In July of 1974, my mother’s father passed away and I inherited a box of old letters, receipts and papers. A lot of it was of no big interest, but there were some letters from people back in Pennsylvania. Between my Aunt Edythe and myself we started writing these people. She had more time available, so she became the champion of digging for information. One distant cousin in particular was of interest, because she lived near the old family property. Edythe wrote her three times and got no response, so she told me, your turn. I wrote the cousin once and got no response, I wrote again and got no response. The third time, I got out a piece of art paper and put it in my wide carriage IBM Selectric typewriter and wrote everything I knew about the family, including some of the more delicate issues. Four days later, I got a phone call. I learned my first lesson in Genealogy, persistence pays off.
For several years, it was letters and phone calls to find out anything. On top of that hundreds of hours in libraries, historical societies, embassies, archives, cemeteries, court houses and funeral homes. All in the quest for knowledge. Then came the age of the computer and dot matrix printers. I can remember my thrill when I had finally entered all of the 220 names I had in the Genealogy software and printed it out.It stretched clear across the floor of a 20 foot room. What an accomplishment! Hurrah!
I kept going and going and every time I added 1000 names I kept saying to myself, “This would be a good number to stop at. Then came the Internet and the ease of talking to people all over the globe, and the insanity of dealing with bad data. “Grandma told me this so it Must be True!” Your Grandma like mine was a wonderful old lady with the memory of a flea. I have corrected most of the dates she sent me and some of the names. It’s all a flow of data that can get modified 100 times. Now some 40 years later, I just hit 25,600 individuals and still going strong. I am verifying information via some death certificates and it has added several people to my database., mostly still born infants.
Over the years I have done research for others, published one family book, written dozens of articles and taught classes. I turned a hobby into an income of sorts over the years. If you would like to start your search and don’t know how, I am available for consultation at a fee. Contact me at Doug’s Country for more information.