Tuesday, August 20, 2013

It Pays to Advertise

I started my genealogy journey in a most serendipitous way.  We were living in Germany from 1974-1978. AND...

OK, not Germany, but I did visit Zermatt, Switzerland, and the Matterhorn
In fact, I took this picture.
My husband's parents were planning to visit and wanted to go to Sweden to see if we could find where her family came from.  Her mother immigrated in 1902 at age 18 with her parents and siblings.  The only information we had was the name Hassjo that had something to do with the baptism of the youngest child.  Long story short, we found the church in Hassjo; we found the family records in the church; and we were pointed to the excellent National Records Archives where we found the family back to the 1600's.  As if that weren't enough, we found a living great uncle and his daughter.  Pretty heady stuff.  How could you not get excited about genealogy when you can find family in the "old world".  It's still a great story that is sometimes told to the grandchildren around the dinner table. 

Dave's mother is a great storyteller and keeper of family lore. 
Dave's mother in 1971
 She makes unknown family members come alive.  (What a gift!) She also keeps all the wedding invitations, funeral brochures, obits and other family documents in a folder with family group sheets gathered by her brother.  I wanted to put all this information somewhere where I could make sense of it. In 2006 I started with Ancestry.com.  Who can resist those tiny shaking leaves?  But really, I found a lot of good information and learned a lot about how to do genealogy from this program.  In addition I found several cousins and some shirt-tail relatives who are a lot farther in researching my families than I am.  Very helpful stuff and expands my social circles as well.

I now use a program (Legacy) on my computer as it's more flexible and more full-featured.  I still have my tree on Ancestry and I have added my tree to WikiTree (a way to post your trees and connect with others who have the same relatives).  I'm working to get all the information into my Legacy program and will then update both Ancestry and WikiTree, which I'm not currently doing.  I have also shared some of my family information with the FamilySearch.org site and have provided a (now quite outdated) gedcom document to be stored in the LDS archives in the Utah mountains. (Gedcom is the standard file format that can be interpreted by genealogy software.)

Well, tonight, out of the blue, I got a phone call from a cousin in Ohio. A cousin I never even knew existed. An hour later, I had learned a ton of information about my Hintz family that I never knew before.  And, this cousin and I will stay in touch and share more information. I found her because of my family tree on WikiTree.  So it pays to advertise! 

I am constantly surprised by the connections I'm making with family and genealogical researchers.  It's a whole new world for me - one that I hope will become more clear to my family through the entries in this blog.  Perhaps it's a good thing I didn't get too involved in genealogy until I retired.  I would never have had time to work!

No comments:

Post a Comment