Back in grade school, my class was given an assignment to
write an essay on our family ancestry. I thought that shouldn’t be too hard.
So, I went to the dictionary and looked up the words essay and ancestry… Well,
it still should not be that difficult. Off I went to interview a few people
that should know about this stuff!
First, I went to my father and asked him to tell me about
our family ancestry… After a delay, he said “well, we are German”. I asked
where is our family from? “Well, Germany”. I figured out this assignment was
going to take a lot more time than I had thought. Next, I went to talk to my
mother. I asked her the same question and she said, “well, we are a little
German and English and Scottish and a little of this and a little of that, I
guess we are Heinz 57”. As you might guess, I did not get a very good grade on
my essay, but it was likely the spark for my later interest to pursue my family
origins. My parents probably wouldn’t have received a very good grade either
because the research has shown that their answers really only tell part of the
story of this cultural tapestry.
I wish that I had pursued the family tree research much
earlier in life. Back when my grandparents were still alive and they may have
been able to help me with a few more pieces of this huge puzzle. The other
frustration is that very few family pictures seem to survive through the
generations. If you believe you will ever have an interest in your family
ancestry, my recommendation is to start your research early, when others
(ancestors) are still able to share their insights and family albums.
So my search began. Several family members had started family trees over the years, but they generally only went back a few generations. There were no records of when they immigrated to U.S. and from where. Those other family trees were the building blocks for my new project.
My research began…