The Genealogy Quest Continues
Genealogy has become a popular pastime with the advent of the Internet and the volumes of information it has brought forth. This was a calling once delegated to those few with lots of time on their hands, an interest in hanging around in dusty archives, courthouses, libraries and cemeteries and with a disposition that might be similar to a scholarly detective. Simply put, it was hard work that took time and a lot of perseverance. Sometimes, it still requires that time and those skills but most often the data is more forthcoming and the time-frame has been shortened considerably. I have spent a fair amount of time over the last few years looking for my ancestors. I then began writing about them and just in the last two years, have been blogging about them. It can, at times, be frustrating but also very exciting and in the long run, the effort has paid-off.
Maps Tell a Story
Genealogy on the Web
The Internet and its ever increasing database of census records, vital statistics, old volumes, newspaper archives, local histories, maps, and even photographs has made my quest for ancestral knowledge a reality. Yes, I have even found photos of ancestors which have surfaced on-line. Most rewarding of late, I now get the occasional comment or contact on my blog that opens up new avenues and exposes the details of family lines that may have, up to that point, proven elusive. I call this "The Flow of Information." The Internet, in of itself, is not the source of most of the information but it is the conduit that feeds that information to me. Where does the information come from? The same place it always has: dusty archives, courthouses, libraries and cemeteries. It’s just that these volumes and this data are no longer hidden away in a box in the basement, the shelf of a library, on a role of microfilm or down some lonely country lane. Instead, they have been brought out into the light and made available to all. The internet-based genealogist still has some digging and sifting to do – no doubt about that but it is so much easier and faster to dig and sift from one central location.
Sources Are Everyware
The result is a proliferation of amateur genealogists. Every family must have at least one curious sole that has taken it upon him or herself to dig into the past. The more you dig, the more you find and it starts to become a serious hobby and maybe even an obsession. My interest in my family’s past is part of a greater interest I have always had in history. That coupled with a natural curiosity about those characters I come from and plenty of family stories, told mainly by my father, is what brought me to this place. Still, a few years ago, I did not have any inclination that I would become that curious sole; the one who took on the mantle of genealogist. The job has been rewarding and introduced me to many ancestors I didn't even know existed. It has also given me a great deal of appreciation for the community of family genealogist, history buffs and explorers that are out there. It is a team effort and because of the help of a great many of them (most of whom I don’t know and will never meet) my quest for the past has been both rewarding and successful.
I just released a three-part blog post on my Norwegian Ancestry – the Peterson and Moe families who came to Wisconsin from the Fjord country in the 1860’s. The material for this saga is truly a compilation of information . . . some from my own data and research, a great deal from cousins who are also on a genealogy quest and data found on-line from any number of sources. I have tried to put it together in one concise, personal, family story.
So I take a moment to stop and ponder . . . but not for long. There were a couple of times when I thought I might have found about all I can and my search would soon end but then something new popped-up. Turns out, there is always something new popping-up . . . the search goes on.