Yesterday got away from me. No, that’s not right. Yesterday galloped away from me without me even seeing which way it went!
My good intentions were to write about a project I’m doing but even that got set aside for another day leaving me with only one topic to discuss.
My sister-in-law, the one who’s crazier than me, has been very busy as of late investigating her family tree. She has visited her mom’s side of the family in New Mexico in hopes of garnering more information about it. She has contacted distant relatives for names, dates, wedding information, what have you. She really was digging into it.
And you know me, I went overboard on this a few years ago myself. I had used the program Ancestry.com to gather the data I was missing. My beloved aunt had written a book about our family tree following her mother’s lineage. My aunt is the one who got me into the discovery of family names when I was 7 or 8 years old. She was a treasure trove of data. The most amazing part of all of this was that she followed the family line back into the 1700’s without the internet! She wrote letter after letter after letter to strangers, to cemeteries, to municipal offices for death notices, baptism records, marriage certificates…you name it, she did all of this without the luxury we now experience daily….world wide web.
She traveled and took film photographs of homes and headstones. She brought that line of our family back to life and I will be forever grateful for my wonderful Aunt Mary.
But because she gave me that ‘family ancestry bug’, I found that I wanted to know more about the rest of the family. Dang it. And now I had the tools Aunt Mary did not and I had the curiosity; a lethal combination.
At first Ancestry.com is fun wherein you start with yourself and your birthdate. You then enter parents and siblings name and WHOA! Ancestry.com has already started garnering information and is letting you know you have ‘hints’ about those names you just entered. It is fun…and then you stick your toe a little deeper into the family history pool and before you know it, five hours have passed by, you haven’t eaten breakfast or lunch, the dog is whining to get out and look…you now have 200 people assigned to your family tree. And where the hell did the day go?
I have been blessed in so many ways with this interest of mine. Through that site, I have reconnected with three cousins I knew I had but didn’t know how to contact them. One of them also used Ancestry.com and contacted me. In the end, I had many photos of her parents that I sent and she had never seen before. There will be a day that we will meet face to face once more and embrace, sharing in the knowledge that we are of the same family line.
On the other hand, Ancestry.com can be scary. Just like the saying goes, with every family tree, there will be a few nuts to show up. And I ran into a few nuts. One nut was threatening enough to make me change my email address and drop Ancestry.com like a hot potato. You see, all your family data is all logged into the internet and you access it. While helpful that way, it also lets anyone else see it. And that, my friends, was the part that I ended up being afraid of. I have since purchased and use Family Tree Maker and all the data stays on my computer. It is not ‘out there’ in the internet cloud.
Because of those nutcases in the family, or as I like to refer to them as ‘black sheep of the family’, I have since deleted the references on Ancestry.com that they were demanding more info on. The individuals that I have been protecting will not be bothered by that nutcase through any means of my data. In fact, I have not even put their info on the data contained on my computer.
I ended up encountering another individual that emailed me through Ancestry.com. He had information regarding yet another branch and would I be interested in more info and photographs? Oh, my yes!! He has been a wealth of data for my family and I, in turn, have begun the process of returning the favor of photographing sites here in my home town that are connected to our ‘combined’ tree.
Yesterday, as I mentioned was a wild day for us. It is the anniversary of the death of a most loved niece. It also became a day of blessing that her first born son became a father for the first time himself. Isn’t that wonderful?
Now, back to my crazy sister-in-law. I needed to run out to a cemetery to photograph headstones to attached to the names in my tree. Yes, you do that kind of thing in family history record keeping. And you make sure that the day you go is also Friday the thirteenth. Seriously, who thinks this stuff up? Well…I do. She said that she would go with me since she needed the same info that I did and she would keep me company. See? Crazy, right? I was told that not only were there two grandparents (not mine) buried there, but cremains of a mother (not mine), an uncle (also not mine) and a grand niece were buried right next to the markers for the grandparents. Got all that? Yes, I know…all convoluted but if you dive into research like this, it does become a huge puzzle you slowly put together. And sadly, there was no headstones for these grandparents buried over sixty years ago, only a footstone marker. The last time anyone was out there was in 1998. That is, until yesterday.
He and I don’t share both sets of grandparents. These two people are his. And yes, the area looks a little dry but that’s because it is located in an old mining town and a green lawn is not anywhere to be found.
A day filled with ups and downs…and a beautiful testament to family love. Because my brother never said anything to anyone about this…well, that in itself just grabs my heart. I love you B!