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Family histories, trees, stories, etc., compilation

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by MU_was_not_so_hard, May 17, 2009.

  1. MU_was_not_so_hard

    MU_was_not_so_hard Active Member

    Guys and gals, I'm looking for advice on putting together a family history.
    Like some of you, I'm sure, the stories of my mother's side of the family are broken up, and as my grandmother turns 80 this year, I'm really hoping to get a lot of this together in the coming months.

    Ideally, I'd like to have a book-format (not for publication, just for us), complete with the personal stories, dates, timelines of relocation to this country (something that happened a relatively short time ago) and around the US.

    I'm going to start by seeing who in the family have done abbreviated histories. I know no one has done a major one. But that's the best place I can think of starting.

    I'm sure some of you have done this sort of thing in the past, so any advice you have would be great.
    Thanks in advance.
  2. dixiehack

    dixiehack Well-Known Member

    Family bibles and county courthouses are your best friends.
  3. Corky Ramirez up on 94th St.

    Corky Ramirez up on 94th St. Well-Known Member

    Apparently the Mormons also have a vast amount of information - even if you're not Mormon (I still don't understand why they would have all this information, but whatever).

    My father has been big on genealogy the past couple of years, because my entire family on both sides came from, or still lives, in Italy. The Mormons were a help in finding information on distant relatives here.
  4. three_bags_full

    three_bags_full Well-Known Member

    Probably something I'll never get to do. My biological grandfather ditched my grandmother when my dad was a boy. Son of a bitch hasn't had anything to do with the family, since. When my dad was dying, my grandmother called the POS to tell him, and all he said was, "Well, OK."

    May he die in a fiery crash.
  5. Faithless

    Faithless Member

    The public library and the internet are good friends, too.

    My local library has genealogical resources galore, including a book about my father's native county about 80 miles from where I live. It didn't take long to trace the family line back to the early 1700s, but my father says other relatives have traced the family back to England.

    I found more family info on the internet. It says great-great-great-great-great grandpaw Samuel performed "patriotic service during Revolutionary War. He provided 750 pounds of beef for troops in VA. His service accepted by DAR." That would make me a Son of the American Revolution, but I won't get involved in that stuff until I have time.

    While on Facebook, I friended a guy with the same last name as mine. I live on the north half of our state and he's on the south side. We figured out that we're distant cousins. Our great-great grandfathers were brothers.

    Some cemeteries have Web sites with info on who's buried there, birth/death dates and photos of the tombstone. This is a link to the cemetery where a few of my ancestors are buried. It's also where my 92-year-old grandmother will be laid to rest next to Papaw after she's done watching her sports on TV. Mamaw loves her ball games.

  6. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    About 17-18 years ago, I briefly lived in my paternal grandfather's hometown.

    At that time, I knew just about nothing about my family history. I knew vaguely somehow I was supposed to be descended from John and John Quincy Adams on my mother's side, and other members of her family had been big wheels in the lumber industry; that was about it.

    I really didn't even know the names of my great-grandparents. None had been alive when I was born and my parents really didn't fill in many details.

    My grandfather's own dad had died suddenly when he was 7 years old, so he had only a few memories of him. His mother remarried a year later so he was brought up by a stepfather. There wasn't really much "family lore" that got handed down on my dad's side.

    So when I lived in my grandfather's hometown, I did a little digging in the clerk's office and old microfilm, and traced back at least two generations. That was farther than I had been, but still a pretty limited amount of genealogical information.

    My brief foray into genealogy kind of petered out shortly after when I moved to another town and a job that took a lot more of my time. So over the next 17-18 years I would kind of half-assedly do google searches once in a while, but nothing organized. About 7-8 years ago I signed up for Ancestry.com's trial period, but immediately afterward we had convulsive changes at work (new management, new front-end system, etc etc) and once again it went on hold and basically I just kind of lost interest.

    Then a couple months or so ago, out of a clear blue sky I got an e-mail from a guy with the same last name as me. I had never heard of him before. He asked a couple questions on family history and quickly we figured out we were third cousins.

    I reactivated my Ancestry.com membership, and I don't know if I was doing things wrong when I was on 7-8 years ago or their search engines have been turbo-powered or what, but all of a sudden, my family tree started going bang-bang-bang and stuff literally started pouring in.

    Found all the great-grandparents. Found all the GG-grandparents. Started working on the generations before that. In genealogy, Google is definitely your friend. Found out I am almost certainly NOT related to the Adams presidents, but we pretty much figured that anyway.

    Although in the course of discovering that, I found that rather than being 15/16ths Irish as I had believed, in fact I was 100.0000 percent purebred Irish. (Score one for ethnic purity.) Found out my maternal GG-grandfather was indeed a lumber baron -- there are about a half-dozen towns or landmarks named after him in northern Michigan and Canada, and in the 1870s-1880s, he had holdings worth several million dollars, wihich would be a lot more now (unfortunately, none of this massive fortune has filtered down to me).

    Kept banging the Google tree and finally made the jump across the Atlantic back to Ireland. I still never knew my GGG-grandparents' names, the last generation in Ireland who sent their son off alone in 1847, but eventually a few clues turned up and we nailed it down. From not even knowing their names two weeks ago, now I know they had 6 kids, of whom my GG-grandfather was the oldest. We know one more, a younger sister, came to the U.S. several years later, but we're not sure on the rest. We know my GGG-grandmother lived in Ireland until she died at the age of 83, so our guess is at least one or more of the kids stayed too.

    Just yesterday, I was digging through an old box in my attic -- a box which had been passed over, intact and unopened, from my parents' house after my dad died in 2001 (and it had sat for years there, too). In the box, I found some dusty old documents.

    And some pictures of my grandfather as a young man in his U.S. Army WWI uniform in 1918. They showed him at his camp in Texas, and at a visit at his sister's house. One of the pictures was a shot of him and his mother (my G-GM) -- who I had never seen before.
  7. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    My cousin videotaped herself "interviewing" my Grandmother.

    It was great. She asked her all about her childhood, her parents & grandparents, etc.

    She told lots of great stories, and it's the kind of thing you can show to your grandchildren.

    I'd recommend it if you can.
  8. albert77

    albert77 Well-Known Member

    Cemetaries and old church records are a great resource, especially once you get back into the 19th century.

    One of my uncles has compiled a family history that traces our roots back to the ancestor who first left Ulster for South Carolina in 1786. Everything is contained in a softback book that cost about $20 (to help him defray expenses), and in a website. It is utterly fascinating to realize how widespread a family network can be.
  9. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    If you have any parents or grandparents in their 60s or older, do this like right away.

    Every day when I am looking for stuff I kick myself for not doing it.

    My grandmother lived to be 99, and she was sharp as a tack up to the day she died. If i had spent a couple hours doing this, so much more of the story would have survived.
  10. Lieslntx

    Lieslntx Active Member

    If you really want to do it right, you will need to invest in a good program that will help you compile all the information that you find in your research. Don't skimp on this part. Get a decent program.
  11. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member


    Mom's side You Dad's side

    Do you know who your 64 great-great-great-great-grandparents are?
  12. Machine Head

    Machine Head Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't buy a program. No need.

    There was a thread on this but I can't seem to find it using the search option.

    The LDS site is http://www.familysearch.org. Great resource.

    Another is http://www.cyndislist.com/

    Go into the research open to all possibilities. Names may have been changed multiple times, dates, places of birth, etc. The key is to find enough to cross reference.
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