I came across an article that I wrote a couple of years ago about how my interest in the research of my family all began and here is a bit of that article.
My first taste of family tree research began at 9 years of age when our teacher requested the class write up our family tree. So at home that evening I got my sheet of paper and drew circles around a drinking glass. I drew one circle for myself, above that two for my parents, four for my grandparents and eight for my great grandparents. I asked my parents to assist me to complete the circles.
To my intrigue I first learnt the names of my grandparents (at this stage I only had one living grandmother) and was delighted to list a number of great grandparents – not all were known by my parents. That chart remained in my possession for a number of years until my next eldest sister became more keenly interested in our family ancestry and I passed the chart onto her as a starting reference point. I was now 15 years of age. Though I did not actively do any research, I showed my sister much keen interest and moral support to continue her endeavour.
A few older relatives had already begun their various family trees which we were able to obtain and add to. All correspondence was by letter writing and visits during the 1980s. This was the time prior to computers, the web and readily available records, but there was a renewed interest in genealogy. There were a couple of historical societies and the local libraries held birth, death and marriage indexes on microfiche.
My sister and I were introduced to the local Latter Day Saints family resource centre and the IGI. We were also able to order-in English parish records on microfilm. This helped our research further back in time and onto side branches of our paternal line.
Our other ancestry was Irish and that soon came to a halt with the lack of Irish records. It came to a stage that we had done as much research as was possible without having to resort to professional researchers and so quite a number of years passed without much research being done.
Then personal computers became more common and with these the introduction of the ‘world wide web’ and finally we were convinced to convert to this technology. Now it is wonderful to have so much access to the English census records, indexes and scanned original records.
These incidents are the joyful and up lifting aspects of genealogy. The majority of my experiences have been good ones. We’ve been able to bring joy and friendship to the elderly, inform an adoptee of her family heritage, help a cousin through a time of personal hardship and been welcomed into family gatherings of second and third cousins like ‘one of the family’, receiving much praise for our detective work. One relative in England was able to respond when I sent her our family tree at the press of the ‘send’ button, “How wonderful to wake up, come downstairs and switch the computer on to find that my family tree had sprouted so many branches overnight”.