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Searching your family tree? Skip the costly services on line!

Updated on June 18, 2013

You don't always get what you pay for!

For many years I have studied my family roots. I have traced the Farrell family line back to ancient Ireland. I have spent years decoding information and keeping track of family names and birth record piecing together tales from long ago. I wrote the historical fiction novel, "Liberty for the Lion Shield " based on my findings.

If you are about to begin a study of your own tracing your own family roots, I have some advice. Don't waste your money on sites that claim to have a huge data bases of records. Many require a monthy fee as a member and have many inaccurately re-recorded records. The best places to start are with your own family. Interview the oldest living members of your family and take serious notes You can also contact your city or town as well as contact churches, religious organizations your family was involved with, along with veterans service records. Cemetary records are also helpful.

On several of the paid for sites I have noticed huge mistakes. One site claims most who have the Farrell last name come from England from the City of Liverpool. Actually, Liverpool is not the birth place of most Farrell family anscestors. Ireland is. The City of Liverpool was only a port town where many famine Irish landed between leaving Ireland (in complete desperation) enroute boarding a ship to America.

On records posted on the internet Emily Vandenburg my great grandmother, was married to a man with the surname Cottington. When he died she remarried someone named Hurley. How wrong they are! Emily Hurley Vandenburg was once a young widow. Her husband Dewitt Vandenburg died of the flu. Many years later she married James Cottington. The couple were in a fatal accident long ago on a spring day. They took a drive to see a daughter on a sunny April afternoon. After the visit the elderly couple were hit on a winding country road. They were both were killed by a drunk driver in 1946. Records became confused. She never married a Hurley. That was her maiden name and she was nearly 90 at the time of the accident. 90 year old's don't get remarried too often, right. They have record of his death when she died the same day.

No local records I have found tell of a diptheria outbreak yet, one of my ancestors lost 5 children in this epidemic in Rensselaer, N.Y. The best way to determine the facts of the past is to research them yourself. For instance there are birth records of the five lost children yet no family line follows them as it does the other siblings born of the same couple. As they say, the best things in life come to those who wait and nothing comes easy. Try your best at collecting information on your own. You are the most likely person to get it right.

Joanne Kathleen Farrell

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