So this ancestry stuff is equal parts exciting and overwhelming. The overwhelming might have more to do with the fact that I’m currently trying to watch an entire season of Scandal before Hulu decides my 1-week trial is up, read the entire 13 year archives of this blog, figure out my DSLR and read the book I bought that should teach me how to do such a thing, and create the world’s longest run on sentence. At least I’ve just accomplished one of those things.
I also will be taking that First Aid class this week, and beginning an Italian class on Monday, so I’ve raised my grade on Week #4’s Class Resolution to a B+.
Last Wednesday night I dove into the ancestry stuff head first and became so engrossed in it that I stayed up until after 11. At NIGHT. It was like an internet treasure hunt and I kept discovering things that made me want to find just one more clue.
I began by creating a free account on geni.com and entering all of the info on my immediate family, aunts, uncles, and cousins that I already knew. Then I started my search. First I searched for places to search. Then I searched those places. Some of the sites that I have found to be helpful are:
- Ancestry.com – this was helpful for my first search, and I was able to view an entire page of U.S. Census data, which was incredibly cool, but then it wanted me to pay to view any further documents.
- FamilySearch.org – I found this site to be the most helpful and it lets you view all the documents you can find for free. This is where I spent most of Wednesday night.
- Google – pretty self-explanatory.
- LocateGrave.org – while this one sounds pretty morbid, it does a whole lot more than just locate a grave. I searched for my grandfather who passed away when I was 16, and not only did the website tell me exactly where his grave is located, but I also found all of the information below, including what branch of the military he served in and what wars he fought in. Um, anyone know when World War li was? Is that a new Roman Numeral?
This is him, my Grampy. Under the eyebrows.
I also found Census data from back before computers (gasp!). Did you know the Census data can only be released after 72 years, so the information from 1940 just became available recently, and 2010’s won’t be released until any of us reading this are probably long gone? Below is a handwritten page from 1940. One section of rows are my great-grandparents and all of their children (there were a lot!)
At the time of this Census, my grandfather was only 10, but several years later he met and married my grandmother. Doesn’t the picture below make them look like they’re from a magazine? It makes me want to live in the 40s.
I found the naturalization documents for my great-great grandfather. I’m pretty glad my parents didn’t name me Ulric.
And here are the draft registration cards for both of my great-grandfathers.
Can you see why I was up so late doing this?! I was able to get all the way back to my great-great-great-grandparents and find ancestors from Canada, Ireland, and Sweden. I kind of hit a wall at that point and I don’t know how to search any further back. There are still a lot of things left for me to discover about the relatives that I did find, so in the next few weeks I plan on doing just that.
I am attempting to make a physical family tree on one of those folding poster boards that you’ve probably used for science projects. I wrote the girls’ info on pink post-its and the guys’ on blue, and I’m going to attempt to arrange them all on the board and add info to the sticky notes when I find it. If I remember, I will post some pictures of the finished product!
But now I have to go watch a movie.