Thursday, April 19, 2012

Family Journeys

Not sure how accurate this is, but it looks cool.

These past few weeks I have been involved in a project which I actually started while I was a teen. This project is investigating and mapping out my family tree. When I initially started my family tree - way back when - I really did not get very far in comparison to what I have accomplished in these past few weeks. It was just a little kit I ordered. I have the paper work somewhere buried in a box in the cellar.

In my prior investigation I managed to get back to my great-great grandfather in around 1848. I did so through talking to my relatives and writing down what they had to say. I was always a fan of listening to my older relatives speak their history. I just wish today that back then I had the acumen to pay attention a little more and have a greater kernel of understanding. It was something that I always intended to pursue further, but my education and life's little complications had me put that pursuit on the back burner. In addition, the need for me to get it done wasn't there. I had other family members who already had their own trees... or so I was told. I have always been meaning to do some following up on that... still.

Honestly though I was always interested in genealogy. To me it is just another facet of history. I've always loved looking over genealogical tables. Two sources in particular were Jesus' genealogies in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke and the other were the Middle-Earth genealogies listed by J.R.R. Tolkien in the Lord of the Rings. I was always fascinated by both. I thought that it was so cool to see all those names listed so far back. Throw in an interest in heraldry and the tangled history of the European noble houses and I was hooked.

So here I am today. I have truly delved back into this interest. In a short time I have solved some mysteries which I have always wondered about and discovered some things I never knew. It sounds cliche, but it is an experience. Thanks to the wonders of technology and my local libraries I have made a decent amount of progress. I haven't really tapped my family sources yet. I eventually will. I want to see how far I can get on my own. There is one major roadblock remaining. The details of one of my great, great grandmothers. She just shows up out of the blue on a census. Of course, its her married name being an 85 year-old Irish illegal immigrant widow who came to live with her daughter. She was in the country since 1860 she could have gotten her paperwork done. She is the next mystery to untangle.

The resources available online are numerous, as well as public records. With a little effort anything you want to know is available. Luck certainly helps as well. It is nice to see where other long-off branches of the family have done the work for you. However, the voids are there too and that is where the detective work begins. I never need an excuse to get out to the library so it is nice when a personal task brings me there. Its just like watching an episode of Who Do You Think You Are.

I'm one generation away from the 1400's in my Baker lineage. My family comes straight here from England and settles in Rhode Island, no time in Ireland. My Irish marries in very late it seems. That was another mystery - to what extent was I Irish on my father's side and what was the mystery nationality. Well that was English and Scottish. I may also be related to one of the original Pilgrims which is another matter which I need to learn the truth. Still looking for my Native American blood on my mother's side. Once I have all my discoveries double-checked for accuracy I'll post more on my journey and the people I have discovered in this search.

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