I can’t remember a time that I wasn’t interested in genealogy. In the 6th grade, I created a primitive poster of my ancestors, full of holes and riddled with errors. I still have that poster, reminding me of my humble beginnings in the field.
For many years, I kept small scraps of paper with notes about my relatives. I talked with my parents about their parents. And I read whatever I could about researching genealogy. But, like many people, I had no idea where to actually begin.
My big break came when my mother’s cousin completed his genealogical research on his side of the family, published it, and distributed it to anybody who wanted to read it. I finally had my starting point. The book contained information about my maternal grandmother’s side of the family. Now it was up to me to fill in the gaps and research all the other lines.
The invention of the personal computer, the invention of email, the invention of the World Wide Web, and finally, the invention of ancestry.com made my research much easier, much more complete, and much more rewarding. With a few clicks of a mouse, I can do more research from my home office in an hour than my mother’s cousin did rummaging through dusty records in courthouses in county seats far from home.
Genealogy has been around since Old Testament times. The New Testament has some family trees in it as well. Family histories have been kept for at least one philosopher for thousands of years. The genealogy of U.S. Presidents is well-documented.
You’ll find none of that notoriety here. Although I have uncovered some descendants of Mayflower passengers, most of the people in this database are average, hardworking, normal people.
I have found a few instances of adultery, incest, and even a couple of bank robbers and other scoundrels. But my goal was not to discover fame in my ancestry. Rather, I wanted to preserve. People are born every day. They live their lives. And then they die. Surely they deserve some recognition from their descendants that they were important enough to be remembered.
In one way or another, I’m related to every person on this web site. If you find your ancestors here, you’re related to me. The more we understand that relationship, the better we’ll understand each other.