My parents’ wedding day in 1956

Some years ago, my sister decided to trace our family tree.  She began with a genealogy program called Genes Reunited.  With parents’ surnames of Smith and Brown, it was no easy feat.  After a while she gave it away.  I had always been interested in tracing our family history too but never had enough time to get started.  Finally, with her permission, I took what information she collected and I started the research, this time on another genealogy program – Ancestry.com. 

Wow!  It was obsessive.  Every time I put in a name I received lots of “hints” to other people’s trees and Census Lists.  My tree grew and grew and grew.  So I began another tree – this time my ex-husband’s family as I wanted my children to know their heritage.  When I exhausted that one, I started on my husband’s family tree as I thought his children and grandchildren would be interested.  It became bigger than Ben Hur!  I had meaningless names and dates all over the place.  I became so confused, I put it all away.

My good friend, Lorraine, has been working on her family history for years.  She does it the old fashioned way.  She searches and finds birth certificates, baptism information, marriage certificates, death certificates, burial information, war details and more to verify each ancestor.  In the process, she becomes personally involved with that person; she gets to know them; she becomes a part of them.  I realised that this is what researching your family tree is all about.  Not about getting dates and photos from other people, but about building what you can of their life and connecting with them as the person they were – and discovering what part of them there might be in you.

This is my quest – to connect with my ancestors and listen to their story.

I look forward to the journey.

Lynn

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