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|Shaking the Family Tree (youngsters:non fiction, 1243 words)|
|Author: Lou Hill||Added: Apr 19 2002||Views/Reads: 2090/903||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|Searching for ancestors produces some interesting stories|
SHAKING THE FAMILY TREE Webster defines genealogy as 1; "an account of the descent of a person, family or group from an ancestor or from older forms" or 2; "the study of family pedigrees." There is no mention made of the fact that tracing ones roots, or as Mr. Webster said "studying family pedigrees" quickly becomes an addiction. Maybe that's what he meant by descent of a person Based on the symptoms that I am exhibiting, I seem to have been bitten by the genealogy bug and have been infected with a severe case of ancestor fever. I am afraid that, unfortunately, I am nowhere near reaching the breaking point of that fever I avidly scan an already over full schedule to see when I can find enough time to spend a few moments trying to locate the grave of a several times great-grandfather in a cemetery in South Hero. Can I leave for my job at the Burlington Airport a few hours early so that I can spend an hour or two at the Alburg Town Clerks office checking the records for a newly discovered ancestor? When I have the rare evening off on a Wednesday or Thursday night, I seriously consider a trip to the Family History Center at the Church of Latter Day Saints in Berlin to spend a few hours surfing through their computer records hoping to find another name that will provide a foothold which will allow me to climb to the next branch of my tree. Fortunately for the preservation of my marriage my wife, Gwen, has become infected by the same bug. She is perfectly content to spend hours straining her eyes to read the microfilmed records at the Family History Center. On our first trip there, she found a significant amount of new information on her ancestors which gave her several new lines and areas to research. It also increased her feelings of frustration when she found that one of her ancestors, Peleg Sprague, had numerous wives and a son also named Peleg thus adding to the confusion. Like me, Gwen has suffered the effects of the "Burned Records" syndrome. When trying to find a copy of her great-grandfather Nash's application for admission to the UVM Medical School, she was told that all the records had burned in a fire. I have been stymied by the incineration of the records of the Towns of Milton and Georgia. I have been told by veteran genealogy buffs that this is a common occurrence and in many instances is a legitimate excuse given by those responsible for records. However in some cases it is used to disguise the lack of desire or the knowledge to find certain records. I must be quick to add that almost everyone I have encountered when researching records has been extremely helpful and courteous. Town Clerks in particular have been very helpful, often interrupting what they were doing to get a volume from the records for me. Procedures vary from town to town. Some Town Clerks will give you a master index of vital statistics and then get each individual volume of records that you require. Others will point you at the records and say "Have at it." A few make a minimal charge for research, others don't charge at all. Regardless, I always get more than my moneys worth. I am a tyro in the genealogy game. I started serious research only about a year ago. Just when I get cocky and think I have done well because I can trace back to my twenty five times great grandfather in the late 11th century, I get put in my place. A few weeks ago I was at the LDS Family History Center, chatting with one of the volunteers there. She mentioned that she had been able to do some work on her family tree that day, indicating a huge loose-leaf binder about eight inches thick, on the desk behind her. I commented that she ought to put it in a computer. "Oh but it is." she said. "These are printouts of all the various family groups in my genealogy." "Just how far back can you trace your history?" I asked. Her answer: "To Adam." Recently a friend asked "Why bother tracing so far back?" A fair question, one that has many answers and one, which made me, do quite a bit of self-examination. Why do I do it? Probably one of the main reasons is the challenge. While it is far easier to trace ones roots in this age of readily accessible information, computers, the "Information Highway" and all that jazz, as Click here to read the rest of this story (49 more lines)
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