A few years ago, a Ancestry.com add dropped into my inbox. The site offers a 14-day trial period. I had always wanted to trace my family tree. Since it was Christmas at the time and I was between books, I took two weeks to comb through the Ancestry.com site. It was fascinating and frustrating. In the photo you see the little green leafs by a name. Those are hints that might lead to another ancestor. Sometimes the hints can lead you astray. Several times I thought I had found an ancestor and followed their leafy hint trail only to realize, oops, not the correct person with the same name as one of my ancestors. Then I had to back track to the point where I deviated from my family tree and try to find the correct person to follow. I had to take notes as I was going to keep track of all the information.
My mother’s ancestors were much easier to find than my father’s.
My dad’s father, my paternal grandfather, was an orphan by the age of three living in St. Mary’s Orphanage. That’s as far back I as I could go. The orphanage records indicate his parents were emigrants from Ireland working in the gold mines in the Grass Valley hills of California. I’ve requested information from the organization that has preserved the orphanage in hopes they will have more information on my grandfather’s parents.
My paternal 2nd great grandmother was born in Finland in the late 1800’s. She came to America at age 14 and settled with her parents in California. She married a man who also emigrated from Finland at age 20 to America and settled in California. They married when she was 20 and he was 26.
However, on my mother’s side, I could trace my maternal grandmother’s family back to England in the 1600’s. I found out that the name Teel, which was my grandmother’s middle name and now my daughter’s middle name was a family name going back to the 1800’s.
And I traced my maternal grandfather’s family to Ulster New York in the 1600’s. I also found records that my great, great grandfather at age 17, served in the Civil War. He lived in Illinois at the time.
I haven’t invested in searching historical records of other countries. One day when I have the time I will do that but for now I have this lovely family tree that gives me a sense of belonging. I know where some of my ancestors lived and what they did for a living, and when they died. Most lived very long lives.
Have you done any research on your family? What interesting things have you found? I'd love to know. Maybe we're connected? You never know.