Thursday, July 13, 2017

Who do you think you are?

Hello There My Little Hummingbirdies!

Long time, no bloggy!

I have recently started getting into Genealogy, because I have always been curious about my heritage and my roots.  It all started in the fourth grade when my teacher had us fill out our family tree.  I very recently started my little genealogy hobby by registering on and taking free classes at my local library. I love the library, and the teacher is a wealth of information.

I first started back in 2009, but I quickly gave up. I had started searching for my great-grandparents' names in the Ellis Island Manifests, but came up empty handed. Growing up, my father told me that they immigrated through Ellis Island, so when I looked through the manifests without finding their names, I figured my dad gave me the wrong information and that was the end of it. I did visit Ellis Island with a friend of mine, and absolutely loved sailing by the Statue of Liberty and walking through the same processing gates the newly arrived immigrants passed through.

I have since found the naturalization records of my great-grandfather who apparently sailed into the port of New York in in 1905 on the Umbria from Liverpool, England. But I can't locate his name or my great-grandmother's in any manifest. I will keep looking, it is quite possible their names weren't recorded.

This time around with genealogy, I have a lot more patience, and a willing to learn. I learned that many people give up after looking on, which is what I did. But I learned in my class that 90% of the information you're looking for is not online, especially since many records still have not been digitalized.

I enjoy tracing the addresses of my ancestors through the Census and telephone directories, to see where they travel and settle down, and how they made lives for themselves. My mother's side is from Austria and is still all there. I haven't started researching that side. My grandmother was very private and, it's not that they won't share family details, they definitely aren't excited about it, so I let it be.

So I am focusing on the ancestors from my father's side.His father's parents immigrated from Minsk, Russia (now Belarus) to England, to New York, before settling in California. Some of the family from Minsk ended up immigrating to other parts of Europe. Out of the blue back in 2011, I received a Facebook message from my distant cousin in Paris, a descendant of the family members that ended up in Europe. When I was in Paris the year before in 2010, I actually saw our family name on the wall of the Shoah, but had no idea I still had family in Paris. I did end up going back and meeting them, and seeing their version of the family tree.

My father's mother's side is goes is a little different. My grandmother's mothers's side goes back far in this country, I haven't determined how far just yet. My father's father's side was Canadian with ancestors coming from England. I still have a lot more research to go. It's fun to see the the paper trail, as well as see the common distant cousins aka "kissing cousins" on I contacted one of them, and it was nice to talk to her.

Anyway, this is the very beginning of my journey to connect the dots. Companies like and TV shows make it seem like it's so easy to do genealogy, it's so easy to build a family tree. All you have to do is go online! WRONG! Not only is most information not online, but you must verify each piece of information you get, because it is very easy to fall into the rabbit hole. Not only that, but you will find conflicting information, and brick walls frequently.

There is so much information out there, so many free courses, so many research sites for free, such as I just happen to find Ancestry more user friendly, so I do pay. Over the weekend I took a class at the local library of how to research land records. That was definitely fun. I do notice that I am usually the youngest person in classes like these.

It can all get extensive and tiring, but for me, it's a quest to find the truth. Family history is truly a game of telephone. By the time the information gets passed to you, you don't know what is really true, and what is embellished.

That is all, off to follow more paper trails.



Jimmy's Journal said...

Good for you Sweetie! I, too, have been tracing my ancestry and it's been an interesting trip. My car recently committed Hari Kari but I hope to have a replacement sometime next week. Let's get together one night at Woody's.


Senorita said...

Sounds like a plan!