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Old 11-07-2009, 08:38 AM
Location: Utah
2,331 posts, read 3,283,367 times
Reputation: 233


Genealogical research can be brutally hard work sometimes, and sometimes it really gets discouraging. But those who persist and endure know that this popular hobby can also bring marvelous rewards and wondrous feelings as our hearts turn to our deceased ancestors, and seemingly their hearts turn to us.

I thought since this is a new forum that it would help motivate us during those dryer times if we had a thread in which we shared SUCCESS STORIES about family history research.

I'll begin with a success story of my own, and because I'm a Mormon I thought I'd include a religious context to it, though I know that religion isn't on everyone's mind when they search for their roots.

So when Mormons do genealogical research, it's not just a hobby for them, it's a duty to God that's approached prayerfully, a work that often comes with unforgettable spiritual experiences as the heavens open a bit and pure light and joy seep through.

Several decades ago I took my annual vacation in Salt Lake City, Utah USA. My wife and I had the genealogy bug big time so we spent many hours sitting at microfilm readers in the huge LDS Family History Library. I was researching an ancestral line that required looking at copies of old records written in sometimes faded and often poor handwriting in a foreign language. Impossible!

Close to giving up after advancing the film only a short way that first time, I tried prayer. That and letting my mind go blank for a few moments (not too hard for me to do :-) moved me into I guess an altered state of consciousness. With no further thought, everything around me kind of faded away and it just seemed perfectly normal that I could read and understand the vital records I had before me.

Over several hours I began to have success, finding a few ancestral connections and feeling the excitement each time that happened. Then I'd get up for a needed break or to rush to my wife to share a discovery, come back to the microfilm reader, sit down, and realize that once again I could not read anything!

Same thing, several times that day and in the days to come as I searched that family line. It was at first an impossible task, then I'd say a little prayer and once again be able to read and understand the old records.

From that newbie start I gained the confidence, the experience, and the motivation to keep on keeping on finding the 80,000 or so people who are on my personal computer today...

Please share your SUCCESS STORIES with us, sometimes we really need the encouragement.

Last edited by linicx; 11-09-2009 at 02:15 PM..
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Old 11-07-2009, 03:58 PM
149 posts, read 529,396 times
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Some years back, I started a Family Newsletter for my Dad's side of the family, as a way to keep all of us (widely spread across the country) in touch.

Didn't know much about Dad's ancestry, but did know that my Grandmother had lineage tracing to the Mayflower, she was a member of DAR. I became curious to know who that ancestor was, and not having access to Grandma's paperwork, decided to trace it back myself. I had to do it all online, and one has to be careful doing it that way because if others make errors in their tracing, and you use what they have made public, you can end up with the same mistakes. But I was lucky to find another family that had ancestry involving our family line, and theirs was very accurate. Ultimately I found out who the Mayflower ancestor was, and learned some really interesting things about him.

More recently, traced another area of my Grandmother's heritage, and I have discovered that we are descended from English, French, Spanish and Italian kings and nobles. This is not unusual for anyone to find, and it certainly doesn't make ME feel "grandiose", but it DOES make medieval history really Come Alive to know that one is descended from this and that individual who played a huge part in the political affairs of the time!
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Old 11-08-2009, 07:02 AM
Location: Black Hammock Island
4,620 posts, read 14,343,600 times
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My success story was my mother-in-law's family history. There were a few skeletons in the closet and so not much was ever spoken about roots. However, time has a way of opening locked doors and discovering that what's inside isn't so horrid.

I had to start my research from absolute scratch since no one still living knew much of anything at all. I began with SSDI and was able to move through censuses to get a beginning-list of names. Then, through googling and broad internet searching I found a distant relative (figuratively and literally) who had most of the information I needed.

I wrote and 'published' the family history and gave it to my mother-in-law and I just cannot describe her reaction. She was beyond thrilled.

So, it is absolutely possible to begin a search with one name, one little twig on a tree, and then find, with time and diligence, an entire fully-rooted full-grown tree.
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Old 11-08-2009, 08:19 AM
Location: America
902 posts, read 1,849,490 times
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I have recently found out that my father was a '' Jr. '' but never used it because his father (my grandfather ) left before my dad was born .
Also I have recently learned that my mothers side and my fathers side shared a home 50 years before my parents were even born , and no doubt through the lasting families friendship through the years , is how they met.
No proof , but guilty by association .
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Old 11-08-2009, 02:54 PM
Location: Kingman AZ
15,370 posts, read 37,732,486 times
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my uncle started doing ours several years ago and has all of the documentation.....my maternal g'mother goes back to the man that formed the oldest existing church in the Americas....Reverand Hobart....
She was approached in the 50's to join the DAR.....turned them down because they were too arrogant....
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Old 11-08-2009, 03:05 PM
Location: Not where you ever lived
11,537 posts, read 29,028,326 times
Reputation: 6407
I started my genealogy long before a LDS and file sharing became popular. I recorded everything on recipe cards because by then I learned how quickly Windows would crash. It was many hours every day for a year following dead leads and blind alleys in several states and a couple of countries before I found a collateral cousin on a State board that knew the family history. He researched and cited all the sources because his great grandfather married my ancestors niece.
Do not give up and do you own research.

My two brick walls were the man my father considered my great-great-grandfather and the mysterious ancestry of a Dutch grandmother who was born in 1715. .

I am sure dad believed it and I researched for about 10 years before I found the answer. My GGG was the fourth husband of his great-grandmother; they had no children. But, in the process I discovered this man and his brother were missing branches in the Hobart Tree and I was able to provide the proper sourses proving it to the satisfaction of the Hobart historian.

The Dutch ancestor was a complete mess due to the copious amounts of cited mis-information found floating around the web as facts. I was lucky enough to meet a man who living in the area I was researching for 50 years. He was working on his second volume of Dutch family history. He was kind enough to teach me enough Dutch that i could read baptism records from Western Euripe that were written in Olde Dutch in the early 17th century that were online. Now I know the family name and the patronyms used, but more importantly I undestand wny 19th Century authors made those terrible mistakes that have been repeated for opver 100 years.

Some of the best resources I found to date:
Family bible. family letters and family pictures. .
Arvhived church memberships.
State/county/city books of original settlers.
State Archivesa nd State Historical Society.
County Historical/Genealogy societies.
S.A.R. and D.A.R. index - found in many local libraries
Civil War Pensions, Land Grants and Deeds.
Masonic Lodge Archivist at Boston - first lodge in America.
New York City Library - Historical section.
Newberry Library in Chicago.
Allen Library in Indiana.
Long Island Historical and Genealogical Society.
All books with the names of early original settlers.
Funeral Home and Cemetery books.
Newspaper archives.
Phone books.
Farm and Grange membership records.
Mortality Schedules.
US and State County/township Census.
Area historical/genealogical museums.

Last edited by linicx; 11-08-2009 at 03:14 PM..
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Old 11-08-2009, 07:52 PM
Location: Memphis - home of the king
52,276 posts, read 28,357,497 times
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I don't find it brutally hard, more a labor of love. Sry, not trying to be annoying.

If you have New England Puritan ancestry genealogy is much easier for that branch of the family. Lots of town histories and town vital statistics records (birth, marriage, death).
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Old 11-09-2009, 01:07 PM
13,506 posts, read 17,157,558 times
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Default Back to 1495...

I did some as a kid in Jr. High when my parents and some grandparents were alive, but I lost what little I got out of it. Fortunately...oh so fortunately, most of the names stayed in the back of my mind for half a century!

Then about two years ago on the proverbial "dark and stormy night" I was bored witless, and was just mindlessly surfing the net. After hitting a couple of genealogy sites...I thought, oh why not and I started plugging in my grandparents names. I made close to zero headway with my father's families in U.S. records.

So, then I turned to my mother's family who came down from Canada early in the 20th century. When I plugged a few names into Canadian searches I hit not just pay dirt, but oil! They were there, and others had been digging around before me (descendents of my great grandfathers first wife it turned out)...but there were new family trails in every direction.

I assumed that my maternal grandmother's family had come from Europe to Canada...and I knew she claimed a real mishmash of "nationalities" in her background. What I found out was very exciting: all the families of her tree had come from Holland and France to settle in the Dutch New Netherland colony in the 1600's (Banta, Van Voorhees, Alyea), a major portion (Moen/Moon) had come to the same area as German Palatine indentured servants. At the time of the American Revolution all these families had divided loyalties, and after the war her direct ancestors made the overland trek through northern New York to cross over into the Canadian wilderness and settle in the new settlements the Crown was making for American Loyalists. Parts of her tree can be verified back to 1495 in the Netherlands.

My maternal grandfather's family (Woods) came from Ireland and settled in the same part of Canada in 1851, and I even found a brief and sad memoir of their first years (about three pages.) And I traced them back to the estate of the landlord they hated in the late 1700's

After more desulatory searching in U.S. records I found a casual mention that my paternal grandmother's Irish parents (Kingston & Holleran) had been married in Canada. Thanks to good Canadian records and some help from local people I traced them back to their village in Ireland, and found the baptism records of my great great grandparents. The father's paternal side (Carroll & Burke) has proved a brick wall...though I have had a tantalizing glimpse of the Land War in Ireland from a packet of letters sent to a grt grt grandmother on that side.

As the OP said, we learn so much sometimes...I have found myself so moved by one grt grt grandmother's multiple tragedies while emigrating that I had to put it aside for a week, and there have been joys too; and other tragedies, including a double murder commited by a cuckolded grt uncle.

I am still looking, and so hooked I'll be doing it until I join my Ancestors. And if I bump into any of them in some "over there" a few are in for a real grilling, I'll tell you.
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