With 45 years experience, my love of family research started in a 4th grade Social Studies class. Choosing to do my report on the Netherlands, the land of my ancestors, opened up a path full of questions and surprise. My paternal grandmother, a naturalized American citizen, agreed to help me. As she pulled her old steamer trunk out and opened it, her collected life story was overflowing. Birth, marriage, death certificates mixed in with pictures, postcards and letters, brought all her memories within arm’s reach. I found myself hooked on the wonder of a world so close, I could actually see and touch it.
Set this aside for a few years and I had started a family of my own. I had recognized the fact that with the passing of each of my relatives, a library of family stories was also passing away.
Research back then consisted of visits to family homes and cemeteries, visiting the local libraries, Family History Center, various state archives. And my favorite — the National Archives. Even with the ease of internet searches, I still love handling the actual documents.
In 2018, turning my passion into a genealogy business has opened new historical and personal passageways to my life. As practice, all my friends and family were “blessed” with their own personalized family tree. Each of them came back to say that by sharing what I had put together for them, they heard family stories that had never been shared before. They found out more about their grand parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and even some new stories about their parents. And each sharing brought with it a smile.
Also in 2018, I created and began locally presenting “Genealogy 101: the Basics.” Although it is an interactive lecture, I have learned much from those attending. This genealogy path has led me to some extremely interesting, previously unexplored areas.
I truly believe that by gathering what we can about who our “people” were — their lives, their traditions, their culture — we have a better chance to enhance who we become.
“Digging Family Roots” is “Connecting the Past and Present while making Pathways to the Future.”
“It is by looking into the past that we truly reach for the future.”