When my daughter was born seven years ago, I thought about how she was like a braiding of my history and my husband’s history. All of our ancestry is tied together in her. That is when I became interested in learning more about our family trees.
In the beginning, it was all about names and dates- this grandfather was born in that year, and so on. Gradually, though, it changed. I became more interested in the lives behind the names. What was it like to travel in a covered wagon? How did she feel when her mother died? What does it mean to choose sides in a war?
Now, genealogy is like a scavenger hunt, but the treasures I find are snippets of real people. I learn a little bit more with each census or death certificate, and every person in our tree becomes more a part of the people who are still living.
Genealogy is a puzzle, an addicting, amazing puzzle. I love searching pieces and I look forward to sharing those pieces with you.
Being only the 3rd generation in my family tree to be born in the United States, I’ve always felt less American than others, though it never bothered me. Growing up I always had a strong sense of culture and background. With strong European roots and tradition, it was never a question to feel closer to my European background than to my American one. But that was the way I was raised and it’s always surprised me when I would ask people, “What is your ethnicity?” and they would tell me American or they didn’t know.
I thought it to be so outside the norm to have generation upon generation born in America that I never even considered it. Even more so was the idea that someone would be raised without knowing their cultural background. That is, until I met my husband.
And he was the one to ignite my passion for genealogy because I want our children to have a strong sense of cultural self, just as I did. I want my research to allow them the tradition and story that I’ve grown up with and I want them to know who they are and where their families have come from.
I hope, as I build our family tree, that is not just filled with names and dates of unknown people. I want to paint a clearer picture of life for those people: through song, food, art, books, history – anything I can get my hands on.
I hope you’ll join us as we explore the art and craft of the family tree.