My recent time spent with close family has brought me to looking at my family tree again. If you have never researched where you family has come from, you really should. My journey over the past six years has been really incredible. I have found out information that has kept me up nights searching for even more information. To my luck, the next set of Census reports will be published next year, so my search can continue on! I have some suggestions for you:
Find a good software program for your PC or MAC that will enable you to enter in each family member you find along the way. I have used Family Tree Legends. It was a very inexpensive program ($20) and the reports it creates allows me to see exactly how everyone is related to me and how far back I have gone.
Secondly, go online and sign up for one year of Ancestry.com at the highest level you can afford. I chose the élite package which ran about $325.00 for the year, but doing so enabled me to search an even wider range of locations and documents and find papers and receipts that I otherwise may not have found.
Lastly, engage your family members to do it with you. You can share the cost of the software and the logins and passwords and search at different times. I found that having multiple family members looking through documents and researching our past, made for great conversation and a passion for knowledge among all of us.
I would like to share just a few things I found out during my search:
My great great great-grandfather fought in the civil war in an artillery division, fought in Gettysburg and most of the men on my father’s side were fire fighters in the Philadelphia area until recent generations. I’ve found enlistment cards and burial plots that I never knew existed before and now have pictures of where some of my very early relatives were buried.
On my mother’s side, I have traced back seven generations to the West Indies and yes, a very large boat that came over the what would be called The United States. It has been a journey of discovery and challenges that engulfed so many of my family members. We have made copies of what we have found out and have shared pins and pictures of family that we will pass down to our children’s children.
I’m going to renew my Ancestry membership next January, to further the hunt of newly born members of my clan to see where there might be more of us. I’ve never wanted a year to go by fast, but this one, could tick along just a little quicker. Census forms are the greatest way to find out about your past very easily and you can find information that you might not have already known.