I’m not kidding you. The number one regret I hear from family, friends and clients is that they wish they would have asked their parents, grandparents, great grandparents and other relatives about their lives when they had a chance.
How many of you have old family photos that are not marked or dated and you have absolutely no idea who they are?
I have literally 100s of family photos. They’ve all come to me since I’m our family historian. I do know and can identify some of the people in these photos. However, if I do not write on the photo who is in it and where it was taken, the next generation will not have a clue about anything in the photo. There is still a possibility that some cousin will recognize some of the people in the photos where I have no idea. With others, their identities are simply lost and will remain so.
Now, if I had sat down with my grandmother’s sister, who we called “Aunt Dorothy”, who was born in 1899 and who was alive for the first 24 years of my life, and gone through her photo albums and asked her questions, I would not be in the predicament I’m in now.
So, I’m telling you, do not wait.
Grab those photo albums and take them around to every person who may know who those people are and mark the name, date and place for each one. Have them tell you stories about the people in the photo. Have them tell you stories about themselves. You’ll be so glad you did. And you’ll get to know those people even better – and really learn a lot about your family history too.
Please, unless you want to waste a lot of time, grab those photo albums and take action.
I would love to hear what your stories are after you do!
Lisa Holt Hamilton
Lucy Duglus/Duglass and Janie Cresswell Lamar
Photo, taken around 1851, with the writing on back of it Read More…
One thing is for certain, pets are part of our family tree. No, they are not “blood relatives”, but they are part of our identity.
Through history, different animals have played a close part in the lives of those they are near. At times, a man’s horse was part of his identity. Great examples are: General Lee and his horse Traveller or Roy Rogers and his horse Trigger.
Other animals are known well, even if we can’t think of or even know what family they lived with – Lassie (really named Pal – and did you know that 10 generations of Pal’s direct descendants have portrayed Lassie in film and on television from 1943 – 2007?), Rin Tin Tin, Elsa the lioness from the movie Born Free and many, many faithful military or service dogs.
Every time I do a family history search I always find a photo or story about someone in the family with a dog, cat, horse or other animal they deeply cared about or who worked with them. Even the Mayflower is said to have had a Mastiff and a Spaniel on it.
My point here is that while being an ancestry detective, you can come up with a dry story and just raw family facts or you can find your family tree full of life, love and character.
In honor of the fact that many animals have made our lives fuller in so many ways – and in order to help and protect those animals in need, I plan to work closely with several non-profit rescues and/or shelters. I will be donating 20% of what monies I am paid from my work as a genealogist. In fact, this has already started and the first donations have gone out. The specific names will be revealed when I have their permission to do so.
While you find your ancestry, why not help those who cannot always help themselves at the same time?
Whether you are just looking for help to build your family tree, getting a debug as an ancestry detective or for research of your surname history – your payment to me will be shared with an animal rescue activity.
Let’s work together to make a difference.
When you first start out to find your family tree, you’ll probably find that you’re asking yourself, “Who are MY ancestors?” You may even start to look and quickly find that you get overwhelmed with all the different pieces of information.
Didn’t things used to be simpler before the age of the internet? It seems now that when you ask a question you get so much information that you end up getting answers to questions you never even thought to ask. You know what I mean?
Well, to be honest, it really is simpler to find your family tree now then it used to be, but you just have to be a bit of an ancestry detective to get the information you want and make sure that it’s correct.
This is another post in the series designed to help you build your family tree. This is the fourth in the series that started on 1 Jan 2014 with Tracing Danish Ancestors. I hope these prove useful to you in your family history search.
When you set out to build your family tree you’re going to run into incorrect dates and dates that make no sense. Understand that any dates you find should be looked upon skeptically. Know that you should not trust them until you verify they are correct. Only then should you use them to verify other facts.
This is another post to help you with your family history search. It probably should have been the first one in the series, which started with the post Tracing Danish Ancestors, as what I cover pertains to the others as well, but there you go. I hope you find these posts useful for what to do and what not to do when you’re trying to build your family tree.
When I first started my personal family history search I often needed help with my ancestry. I would get stuck and then go off on all sorts of tangents trying to get going again. After much trial and error, and a lot of helpful advice from others, I’ve found ways to get around many barriers that are prevalent when you start delving into the past, where records are sometimes scarce and hard to verify. Read More…
You have to realize that when set out to find your ancestry and build your family tree that you are going to get stuck occasionally. It’s almost certainly going to happen, so I thought I would write some posts and give you some tips on what you can do to get going again.
One of the first things that you should do is to look for variations in the spelling of the names and even variations in the names themselves. Read More…
Tracing Danish ancestors back to Denmark can certainly be challenging. Realize that up until 1826, when the use of patronymic surnames was legally abolished, there was quite a system in use. If you study the diagram below, you can see the pattern of naming that was used. Consider Jens Sørensen to be the father and Kirsten Mortensdatter to be the mother. You can see that Jens’ last name is a combination of his father’s first name, “Søren” + the Danish word for “son” – “sen” = Sørensen. Kirsten takes her father’s first name for her surname but it is a combination of his name, “Morten” and the Danish word for “daughter” – “datter” = Mortensdatter. This is simple.
For Jens and Kirsten’s children, the names are a combination of the grandparents and parents names, depending on if you are first born or not. First-born children get the paternal grandparent names and second-born children get the maternal grandparent names.
I have been tracing Danish ancestors of a family and I will give you some of the things that I have run into and how you can find the answers if you let your imagination create possibilities. So, although this was a system in use, there were always exceptions like everything in life.