Family History: A Part of the Past
Over thirty years ago, the genealogy bug bit me and I embarked on the most fascinating journey of searching out my ancestors.
My mother was my partner in climbing our family tree. We searched graveyards, courthouses, and libraries to decipher the multitude of puzzles that presented themselves. We even wrote and compiled a couple of books about our Cole line. I cringe to say we were wrong about the origins of our family. We later uncovered the truth, but we had already written and distributed the books, and all we could do was continue with the correct information.
But isn't that the way of genealogy? Sometimes all you have to go on is a hunch. Later as documentation and stories creep out of the woodwork, you correct the mistakes and build upon the truth.
Such an incident occured on my father's ancestry a couple of years ago. I had corrected information on Familysearch.com, and because my email address is connected to my account, the director of the Oakland, California Family History Center contacted me. He asked me what my relationship was to the person whose information I had corrected. The ancestor was a great uncle, the brother of my great grandfather. He informed me he now worked on the same line, and he asked if I would be interested in the research he had compiled.
Of course, I was most interested. The director generously shared all his research on my family and sent me to a website where I could read and extract names and dates from the antiquated documents myself. He taught me a bit of Portuguese so I could understand the data within the records. The process has proven difficult, but I have enjoyed the effort such a search requires.
I had worked on my father's line in the late 1970s, and all I could find at the time were those family members who lived in California, and only thoses as far back as the late 1800s. I never anticipated I would find my ancestors who lived in the Azores Islands prior to coming to America. I now have taken most of my father's ancestry back to the early 1700s, and I'm still uncovering hundreds of names and dates to this day.
Thanks to DNA testing, the multitude of family history sites on the Internet, and the readily available research aides, I have hooked up with 3rd cousins who are now helping me to expand several more lines. I have created a genealogy blog to share and collaborate my findings with others about this most exciting and worthwhile research.