Thursday, December 17, 2009

Genealogy Musings

Today I begin my first blog posting. I hope use this to organize my thoughts, share ideas, and further my genealogical research and sharing.

I have been seriously researching my family history for about 20 years. I have been interested in this topic for far longer. I remember an assignment in junior high (or maybe early high school) where I need to research at least some part of my ancestral history. I borrowed a book about the Hall family from my aunt and made a poster of my Hall line back quite a few generations. I think I still have the thing - I wish I knew where. I don't think I understood how to read that book and it would be fun to compare what I know now with what I thought I found then.

My father and I had a discussion just the other day about what year my grandmother, his mother, had died. He had received Christmas cards from some of his Canadian relatives (his parents both having been born in Canada). I looked at the cards and recognized the names but couldn't remember how they were connected to my dad. I went home and printed out a couple of generations of both his father's and his mother's lines and took them to him and told him to please indicate who the writers of the cards were. He did so and also changed the death year for his mother, from 1993 to 1996. When I looked at it I thought "Wow! have I had that wrong all this time?" I went home and looked at my family tree program, not the date he thought, checked an online social security death index, not his date, and then looked at my gravestone picture for her at They all agreed with my date, not what my father remembered. I called him up and he said he was sure she died in 1996 at the age of 96. How could she have died in 1993 and been 96 if she was born, as we both knew, in 1900? I'm not sure he quite believed me and told me he had a copy of her death certificate and he would check it out (reminds me I need to get a copy of that!). He did call back and confirm that it was 1993. Guess she was only 93, he had thought her 96 when she died and had planted that firmly in his mind. Glad we have some good sources for checking these things out. This reinforces the truth that "facts" are easily forgotten and misremembered!

The whole discussion made me think about my grandmother. When I was in high school and college she lived with us on and off. I wish I had taken some time to listen more. She loved to tell tales about her past and was particularly proud of the fact that her relatives were Loyalists during the American Revolution. That is how she ended up being born in Canada, her relations having been forced out of the new America at the end of the Revolutionary War. I didn't even understand what a loyalist was when she was telling me and I didn't really have enough desire to find out. Miss you grammie.

So, I'll end this my first post. What did I get out of it?
Write it all down, and document it as best you can.
Listen to your elders ... while you can ... get all the stories (and write them down!!)


  1. Welcome to the genea-blogosphere, Kathy. You're gonna find this rewarding in so many ways! Thanks for stopping by Before My Time. I'm kind of excited--I don't think I've ever been anyone's first follower before. :-)

  2. Hi Kathy,
    I enjoyed your first post and look forward to
    many more!


  3. Welcome Kathy, it's great to have you here. Great first post and looking forward to many more.

  4. I enjoyed your post. You are so lucky your dad is still alive and able to help, even if he gets the dates wrong.

    I caught "The Bug" when I was going thru his papers after his death. There are so many things that I wish I could have asked both of my parents.

  5. Welcome, Kathy! Great first post!


  6. Welcome, Kathy! I look forward to your second post. Enjoy working with your father... how lucky!

    Welcome to the Geneabloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I'm fairly new, as well, and have found it most stimulating, especially the Daily Themes.

    Keeping telling your ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill ;-)