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Eight Years of Genealogy Studies

October 13, 2016 , , , , ,

1900 Census

1900 Census

My grandpa Ernie

My grandpa Ernie

I will soon celebrate my  anniversary as a student of my family history. I joined during the financial crash of 2008. I had just inherited some stocks and bonds when they began to vanish into thin air before my very eyes. I was watching a website following the stock market when I saw an ad for the Ancestry site. I decided to take the free offer of two weeks because I was sure I could learn everything I needed to know in that two weeks. I had not planned to stay on for the paying contract.  The first piece of evidence I found was the 1900 census taken on Indian Territory in Oklahoma.  My grandfather lived there with his father and step mother.  The census taker recorded him and his brother Ed as children of this Cherokee woman who was my grandfather’s second wife.  This lady, Annie, turned out to be a relatively famous Cherokee con woman.  In this census she says she was born in New Mexico in 1854.  That is pretty suspicious since she says her parents were born in Georgia and North Carolina, a place where the Cherokees originated.  She would be under very special circumstances to be born as a Cherokee in New Mexico in 1854.  Later she says in other census records that she was born in Florida. She did have a reputation within the Morse family as a witch.  I did not know any of this when I saw this record of my grandpa on the Cherokee Nation at the age of 10.  I started searching madly to learn more about him and all my other ancestors.  I became fascinated with all the history I learned and the puzzle of matching up the data with the tree.  When the two weeks had passed I signed up for a permanent membership, and never looked back.

Now that I am a relatively sophisticated investigator of my ancestry I would urge beginners to follow some simple guidelines in order to have the best results:

  • Be very careful to verify records of all kinds
  • Don’t take other people’s research as factual
  • Be aware that spelling was a very loose discipline in old records
  • Triple check the identity of relatives with common names like John Taylor
  • There is specious data printed in many places, including history books
  • Travel to the physical places your ancestors lived can be revealing
  • Be willing to admit mistakes and go about corrections when you find them
  • Read and study about the places and times in which they lived for depth

There are more records available all the time.  Since I joined the DNA study at Ancestry I have found new information and connections.  My yearly subscription to this vast database is the best entertainment value for my dollar.  I thought I would be done in 2 weeks, but now I know I can’t quit until I reach Adam and Eve. Have you ever looked into your own family history, gentle reader?  What surprised you?


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I have done cursory explorations into my family history. I think one of my cousins has the book of ancestry that our grandmother did. She was like you– an avid researcher

Liked by 1 person

Stevie Wilson (@LAStory)

October 17, 2016

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