A COMMENT ON GENEALOGY RESEARCH
Off and on for a lot of years, I’ve been studying my family’s genealogy. Back in my 20s, I did a rough genealogy of my father’s family. One side of his family was from Sweden and I had to actually write the priest from the parish from which my family came and ask for family records. It took a long time, but I finally received some records from that priest. I felt like I had struck gold. I was able to put together some semblance of a genealogy of my dad’s family.
After that, life happened and it took me years to get back to studying genealogy. I’ve been playing with it for a year or so now. Since my first feeble attempts all those years ago, websites like Ancestry happened and the vast databases of information that you can access through them, not just for America but all across the world. I’m still learning to use Ancestry and similar sites, but I have some of my paternal grandfather’s information in place. Since he was first-generation in the U.S., it’s been fascinating to trace him back to Sweden. I’m almost ready to start on my paternal grandmother’s line.
Genealogy got more interesting when DNA testing came about. Not only can you trace your family tree, you can actually find DNA matches amidst your family tree if you and others have tested your DNA. I have made contact with several third and fourth cousins using this feature.
It has been a superb experience to not only see my family tree on the computer screen but also to get to talk with cousins I didn’t even know existed. Coincidentally, at the same time, a long-lost first cousin found and contacted me and that prompted the first cousins on my dad’s side of the family to get in touch with each other and even discuss planning a reunion at the place from which we all came.
In these days of social media and so many of us being relatively isolated from family members, I think this is a wonderful thing. I know I am so enjoying getting reacquainted with my close cousins and getting to know more distant cousins. We’re putting together quite a family story!