Recycle Your Family Tree!

My husband received a call the other day from the secretary at the cemetery where his parents are buried.  There was some confusion as to who was in which space and which empty plots were being held for whom.  Now if this seems odd, I’ll give you a little hint—everyone is named Matthew, John, or Peter!  Okay maybe not everyone, but a large portion of the males in this family have one of those three names.  Back in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s it was very common to give the first born son the name of his grandfather.  When subsequent sons came along, they usually got one of the other two.  This got us talking about family trees.

A few years back my mother gave me a bag of information, some clippings/pictures, and a rough-draft family tree.  Having the best of intentions, I took the bag home and carefully stored it in my office for when I had some time to really dig in.  In the interest of full disclosure, I am a huge procrastinator and that bag is still in there somewhere.  But after the secretary’s call we did go online and look at a few different websites to try to get the information for the cemetery.

I’ve seen the commercials for the popular genealogy website on TV.  This is a membership-type site and you have to purchase your entrance.  Like many others, our public library has a membership; but I just didn’t have the time to go there to dig around.  So we looked up a site I’d heard about before when doing some research, www.familysearch.org.   It was awesome!  We found some records we needed to help out the secretary, and put to rest the rumor that the family’s lineage wasn’t really 100% German.  We poked around and looked up a few other old family names.  I even found my grandfather’s entry to America through Ellis Island.  What an amazing site.

I don’t know if everyone is as interested in their family history as we are.  But if you are, I urge you to recycle that family tree!  There are so many websites devoted to genealogy that you are almost sure to find something that will lead you in the right direction.  If you Google genealogy websites there are a bunch that pop up.  Poke around; enter in a name or two.  And by all means, dig that old bag out of the office and check it out!

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