One of the (admittedly few) perks of working in the genealogy section of the library is that it gives you a chance to do some family tree research of your own.
In the past, I haven’t been that interested in tracing my ancestors. But I guess I never realized (or thought about) what great resources exist, and how far back you can really go.
Among other websites, I’ve been using Ancestry Library Edition (link here but it’s a paid login) and I’ve found a ton of information, including a lot more original source documents than I expected. Scanned census documents, yearbook pages, and more, from the 40s, 30s, 20s, and even earlier.
I found a scanned copy of the 1918 draft registration card for my great-great-grandfather (that’s my mother’s mother’ mother’s father), complete with his signature, occupation, and a physical description. He was a Kansas farmer; he had brown hair, “gray” eyes, and was tall, of medium build.
I’ve been researching my wife’s side as well. Whereas my ancestors have lived in the U.S. for as long as I can discover (so far), hers are relatively recent immigrants. Her great-grandfather on her mom’s side immigrated from Sweden as recently as 1901, and the situation is similar on her dad’s side (but from Italy instead of Sweden). Again, I’m amazed how many scanned source documents exist.
Have you done any research like this? What did you find?
I have a cousin who’s really into researching family history, so when I have a question I just ask her. 🙂
What I like is when books have family trees (also maps, floor plans, and other sorts of diagrams). I still remember the hardcover edition of The Forsyte Saga that I used to have, with a big fold-out family tree in the back. Very cool.
Yeah, I seem to recall The Silmarillion had something similar.