Exploring Your Family Tree is Worth The Work

by Erin
(Indiana, USA)

Exploring my family tree has been a hobby of mine since I was a young girl participating in 4-H, and I submitted a family tree portfolio as my project one year.

Initially, most of my information came from my grandparents, but once I’d exhausted their memories with dates and names, I had to learn to use other sources. The internet--especially Rootsweb--has been huge help with several branches in my family tree, as I can not only search for records, but can connect to others looking for ancestors we share.

I find that it’s best to work from yourself backward in history, so that you can start with what you’re most sure about and fill in the blanks. Sometimes you do reach that dead ends, and other times you spend all day searching for tiny scraps of information that must be cobbled together into the big picture.

I’ve found lots of surprises this way—one of my direct relatives was hanged in Salem, Massachusetts during the famous witch trials.

Stumbling upon those discoveries makes the “work” part of genealogy very rewarding, because they allow personal connections with history that I can then pass on to my daughter as she studies the events in school.

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