Thursday, December 31, 2009

Where did you come from? ....

... or more correctly, "from where did you come?" I've always been a stickler for good grammar (except for the excessive use of parenthesis)... to a fault most would say I'm sure. That's a question I could never answer. That is until today.

I was watching TV (for a change) on my couch the other day. (For those who don't know, that was meant to be a joke because I have a 47" TV and a DVR that will record 4 channels at once, so I watch WAY to much TV.) BTW, I have a "3 parenthetical phrases per blog quota and I just met it. Anyway, I saw a commercial for and was mesmerized. OK, not mesmerized, but intrigued. So I started tapping away at my already open laptop (I multitask by watching TV and surfing the web at the same time... crap, there goes another set of parenthesis!), over to I went. 8 hours later and most of today as well, I know the answers I've always wanted to know. For a nominal fee, this website alows you to search public records, census data, birth certificates, social security death reports, marriage liscences and periodicals to build your family tree. It was difficult at first, finding out maiden names of women 3 to 4 generations down was the most challenging, but after a few phone calls to grandparents I got on a roll. Once your tree gets going, you share geneology with hundreds and thousands of people whose trees are already done and accessable as a member of the website. It was really eye-opening.

At first, I was able to trace my lineage on both maternal and paternal sides back to colonial Virginia for the Fain side and colonial New Jersey on the Wright side. It was great, but I wanted more information. By upgrading to "premium" membership or something like that, I was able to access European records as well. That is when things got really interesting. On one direct lineage, on my dad's side of the tree, I was able to trace my ancestry 28 generations all the way back to the 1148, the DeStoke family in East Stoke, Dorset, England! Most of my lines ended in England, but the Fain's were from Ireland. I also found ancesrty in Germany, France and Wales. I also found a possible relation to Barack Obama on my mom's side. His mother, who was from Kansas like mine, has a line of Wrights in his geneology. I found no one common ancestor because It could take months to wade through all of the children of every Wright ancestor on both side for a common link. Although it would me interesting, I'm not sure I would ever brag about it to anyone.

We took a stab at Karen's family tree as well and found that lines on both sides, Boston (Borsdorf) and Poss, point to Germany.

I recomend everyone who is interested in their ancestry to do this, or if you are lucky enough to still have living grandparents, ask them. Soon you will lose that resourse, forever.

Well, that was my vacation. How was yours?

1 comment:

  1. Interesting stuff. My parents have looked up ours and one leads to England the other to Germany. I just have to say that I'm so happy I don't have to go by Amy Borsdorf.