I have been elbow deep in researching my family tree. I tried researching several years ago (just about 10 now actually) but most things weren’t digitized yet so it was definitely more difficult than it has been for me the last 2 weeks or so.
I have discovered branches dating back to the 1600s IN THE UNITED STATES that I didn’t even know existed. And I discovered that I am almost exclusively German. A smidgen of Irish here and there but for the most part my ancestors seemed to have come from Germany. That’s more German than I previously thought. And for the most part they hung around Pennsylvania, Ohio and Maryland in areas that are thick with Pennsylvania Dutch thereby ensuring the German line continued. And I have seen which members decided to depart from where they knew and move to Iowa and Nebraska. My family line here is astounding. I have a lot more graves of more ancestors than I could ever anticipate. Graves I must take a day trip and visit sometime this summer. Graves that belong not just to my great-grandparents (most of whom I actually remember when they were alive and/or have visited) but also my great-great and great-great-great grandparents. Graves that are all less than 2 hours from here (I’ve already visited all my local ancestors previously – their graves helped me get started on the search).
I discovered ship manifests from when my ancestors came here. I discovered another ship manifest from the Panama Canal (Cristobal) which lists my grandmother (age 5) and her mother in 1939. The only problem though is my grandmother was born in Nebraska and my great-grandmother in Rapid City, South Dakota. My grandmother’s older siblings aren’t listed nor is my great-grandfather. I wish I could ask her why this exists, why was she in Panama when the family is a bunch of farmers from the middle of Nebraska (she passed away 2 years ago). I found the draft cards for several ancestors with their professions, addresses and signatures. I know where they lived when they were alive. In some cases the buildings still stand. I found the military record for my grandfather who enlisted less than a week after Pearl Harbor and who was discharged 4 months later. He was injured though I’m not sure how. I found the Civil War records for 3 different ancestors (though I would need better lineage documentation – birth certificates – to prove it to the Daughters of the Civil War if I wanted to join). All Union in case you are wondering (I was). I found the various different spellings for my last name and just how much it has changed since the early 1700s. I found that I do not yet have an ancestor that fought in the War for Independence. I need to do more research as that is where it gets awfully thin, record wise, online.
I found which could read and write, which could speak English or German. Names of people I have always wondered about but never known. It’s just amazing me!
In two weeks the 1940 Census will be released and I will be sure to check out that information as well. Though it’s not overly helpful for my lineage since all my grandparents (save 1) were born prior to 1930 and I’ve been super successful with finding that information and more. I’m just curious. 🙂
Plain Black long-line tank: Target (July 2011)
Gray striped dolman sleeve lightweight sweater: Gift (Sept 2011)
Black Maxi Dress DIYed into a skirt: Avenue (April 2010)
Dark wash jean jacket: Lane Bryant (March 2011)
Black Aussie Dogs lace-up rainboots: 6PM (September 2011)
Long triangular dangly chain choker: Charming Charlies (January 2012)