Sunday, November 1, 2015

Thankful for Family History

Family History is significant to so many people. The three most recent projects to fill my time revealed wonderful connections. Two have Native American roots. Two also have history that occurred very near to our new to us home. It takes hours compiling a family history from online resources, and yet that is only the beginning of understanding those families. Viewing pedigree charts that show five generations of basic information we ponder about the families each of those couples represent. Generations pass away and the descendants represent even more families.

In compiling data great care is taken to ensure the information is for the correct person. It is very easy to be confused by similar information for different persons. Finding various records that help define each person is essential. At times it becomes tedious to verify and re-verify each piece of information to ensure all the pieces fit together. Sometimes there is a need to shuffle things as new details are uncovered. At other times we fail to fully examine the documents that provide the details. It is a slow meticulous process that is very time consuming. The last two families required over ten hours of work just establishing the basic information. Online information is very useful, but it should not be the final or only resource. It will help you decide which locations might provide more defining information and the institutions that might hold that information.

If you are compelled to do family history research, it becomes a passion. Doing the work for other people is fun, but even more important is teaching others to do the work for themselves. Seeing others enjoy the thrill of discovering details about their ancestors is very rewarding. We will never complete our research. This is proven by how many more records continually are being made available. Some online trees seem rather incomplete, but this is probably due to the fact that with more records digitized online there is a need to review our work periodically. To show our gratitude for the access to these records we should review our family history and update our family trees. Take time this month to meet with family members and share your family history. In doing so you may make discoveries within your own families. Leaving an accurate family history is a rich blessing and resource for future descendants. Serendipity is discovering family members who share the love of family history.

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