a start to unfolding my family history

June 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

This gorgeous photo is of my dad’s mother when she was a little girl. This week has been one of the most overwhelming weeks I’ve done yet but also the most fulfilling. Coming up on my halfway point for this project, there have been a lot of interesting things I’ve learned about myself, but none has been as fundamental as gaining a better understanding of where I came from.

This week was just the beginning in learning more about my family for me. When you start looking into these things you just want to learn more. It can be hard because sometimes you just have names and dates. You find yourself at dead ends. There are so many questions that seem unanswerable.

I definitely finished this week with an appreciation for how important it is to document your ancestry. If you don’t do it and ask the questions, no one else will. Just sitting down and talking with my parents I heard much more than I ever knew.

Ancestry.com is a good place to start since they have all kinds of public records you can view. It was amazing to see my great grandparents on the census. We were lucky in my family that there were lots of artifacts on both sides. My dad’s aunt had put together a photo book for us that went back pretty far. We had a lot of old photos and letters from my mother’s side.

Another source of inspiration is the show Who Do You Think You Are on NBC. You can watch old episodes here.

I started the week thinking I would be simply tracing my lineage, but I ended it with new stories and a window into myself and where some of the traits I have are from. I can’t think of a more valuable way to spend a week.

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