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FGS Logo

The Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference logo is my inspiration for this prompt blog post. To me, it absolutely epitomizes the event theme, Connect.Explore.Refresh.

Connect – The trunk and intertwining branches of the family tree logo, in the form of stylized people, illustrate the way our lives, and those of our ancestors, are connected. They give new meaning to the term “the family of man.”

Explore – Representing the spirit of exploration and discovery, the leaves signify the countless hours of research, lovingly undertaken to expand our knowledge of the men, women and children who populate our family histories.

Refresh – And because everyone knows that a tree cannot grow and thrive without nourishment, the unseen element of this illustration are the roots which anchor it and provide refreshment. Our roots are our ancestors, whose lives have given us inspiration and courage, awakening in us a sense of adventure as we climb our family trees … and reach out to others, as the figures in the logo are doing, to join us on the journey.

Please make plans now to join your fellow adventurers Feb. 11-14 for the FGS and Roots Tech combined conference in Salt Lake City. Check out the schedule, the speakers and array of tracks to choose from. Whether you are just beginning to explore your roots or are looking down from the top of your family tree, this event just might be the genealogical high point of 2015 for you.

Are you going to the FGS and Roots Tech event? I’d love to know which surnames you’ll be representing and researching!

Wordcloud

I’ve got to say I’m inspired by the camaraderie in the genealogical community. Most of those I’ve reached out to with questions about shared ancestors have responded. And they have been helpful, whether or not there is an actual family connection.

In fact, I am so impressed that I’ve decided to reach out to at least one of my GenFriends each day. If nothing else, just to keep in touch. I know we may never meet in person, but that doesn’t matter. These people are special to me.

They are the comforting souls at the other end of my message or email or phone call who understand a brick wall or an amazing discovery or double first cousins or disappearing ancestors. They just “get it.”

And I appreciate that … especially the fact that they take the time to respond, however brief. Some even go way beyond that, sending me CDs of information that I would never have guessed existed. And there are those in Find A Grave who have driven miles to document and photograph graves of my ancestors living far away from me.

For my part, I am trying to be just as good a GenFriend to other genealogists as they are to me. So if you have research questions about any of the branches on our family tree (see Word Cloud above) bring them on. I’ll try to help!

Just wondering, how do you reach out to your GenFriends?

Recently returned from our family reunion. It was the best organized one ever, with an auction full of bargains for all, games for young and old, a friendly Family Feud competition, delicious Chuck Wagon breakfast and yummy pot-luck lunch/dinner.

But the best part of all was reconnecting, sharing what’s been going on since we saw each other last year. We talked about old times, good and not so good, and looked forward to better times to come.

We talked about the our ancestors, those who have passed on, our family tree, how our branches intertwined and how love is the tie that binds us all together. The treasured photo albums were brought out and memories flowed like tears.

The old timers talked about their aches and pains, but how, actually, they are doing pretty well. The little ones ran and played and laughed and glowed like little fireflies in the dusk.

We took pictures to treasure until next year. I can hardly wait ’til then 🙂

Family Reunion WP

What a wonderful way to get past square one on my genealogy “to do” list! Amy Johnson Crow has issued a challenge: “The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.”

Time and energy ran out last year as I had so much requiring my attention and still only 24 hours in a day. And even though I didn’t want to give up something that had helped to jump-start my love for writing again, my little blog went by the wayside.

Ironically, as I was sorting out my New Year’s Resolutions recently, I had decided to dust it off and start having fun with genealogy once again. And so, it is with that optimistic outlook in mind, that I pledge to take better care of my family tree in 2014.

Do you have genealogy resolutions you’d like to share? Perhaps you’d like to take the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge as well?

When I read this outstanding post by Katie Noah Gibson, I was excited at the possibilities. Of course,  I immediately thought of mapping my family tree.

My plan is twofold: on a fundamental level, I will get a ginormous map of the world and stick tiny color-coded labels representing each direct-line ancestor.

The second stage of my plan is more complex and would probably require individual maps. It involves tracing each of those people as they moved about in their lives. I envision a criss-crossing of lines and colors which will be a visual feast of family group movement.

I’m expecting to learn so much more about my ancestors by mapping their lives. In addition, this process will no doubt inspire new discoveries, new questions, new opportunities to engage other family members in leafing out our family tree.

I’d like to know: if mapping your family tree sounds like a great idea, let me know your plan and share your progress.

Considering the dozens of ways I get side tracked every time I open my family tree, it’s a wonder that I actually get any research done.

I usually go after one piece of information, then find some interesting side note and start to follow wherever it leads. Like a puppy following a scent, I wander through books, websites, other people’s trees or boxes of old letters and photos.

Then, when I finally look up and realize how far afield I am, I often can’t remember where I started and don’t know how to get back there.

Genealogy experts say that having a plan in writing and taking notes along the way is great for keeping yourself on track. Sound advice. And maybe, it just might keep me from barking up the wrong tree twice.

I’d like to know: how do you keep track of your genealogy research?

… I have so many questions I would ask my parents.

Family History Writing Challenge – Write about someone you regret not asking more questions of when they were still living. 

I’d ask my Mom and Dad all about their parents, childhood and family life. About how they met, fell in love and married. About the challenges they faced and how they overcame them. About their hopes and dreams.

I’d ask about their travels and adventures. We’d go through the hundreds of photos with no information on them and they could tell me the stories about their friends and family I never met.

I’d show them the family tree I’ve made and they could help me fill in the blanks and tear down the brick walls.

We’d have such fun, if I could turn back time.

I’d like to know: what are some unanswered questions you have about your ancestors? Who else might be able to provide answers.

We went to the Dallas Public Library, 8th floor, Genealogy section this weekend. What a treat! The research librarian was so helpful and directed me to the stacks and the card catalog.

Although I have worked in libraries before, it has been some time since I held a drawer of index cards in my hand. It was like meeting an old friend again 🙂

I spent most of my time in the Pennsylvania reference section and before I knew it, had found lots of information about someone who might be my fourth great grandfather.

Can’t wait to scan and add these records to my tree and print out the family group sheet. We had a great time and are looking forward to going back to do more research!

I’d like to know: which libraries do you rely on for genealogy research?

 

family-tree-md

Looking forward to researching and sharing information about ourselves, our ancestors and our descendants. I’ll be sharing my discoveries in this blog and invite others interested in genealogy to comment, share and like as they wish.

Check out the surnames I’m researching that are listed under the Welcome tab. I’d like to know: which names you’re searching for as well.