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Twigs and Branches; A family history blog

Updated on April 3, 2014

Family branches

As a child I spent lots of time playing in the woods behind our home, climbing the trees, swinging from the grapevines which hung in them. I often would take a book along and sit in the branches to read. My mother was fond of saying "if you wanted to find Lindsay just look up into a tree."

That comment could still be used to describe me today, only it refers to a different type of tree. As a teenager I became interested in family history, due to my father's interest in history and my maternal grandmother's family stories.

Like many of us my father often wondered where his family had originated. How had they ended up living in Berwick, PA? What had brought his many ancestors together? What were their stories? There was very little information on this line of my family. However on my maternal side there was Nana with all her stories. The two distinct situations gave me lots of options.

Paternal ancestors stomping grounds.
Paternal ancestors stomping grounds. | Source

Research, the old fashioned way

Some of the basic research on my dad's family had already been initiated by my sister, so with that in hand I began my quest. I started by writing down everything we knew at that point.

Since my starting point was my dad, I recorded his name, birthdate, birthplace and date of his marriage to my mom. In adition to the vital facts we wanted to have a record of interesting life experiences, so I also wrote down some of his childhood memories. The reason for this is that I feel this information gives the record 'personality", making it more real than just names,dates and places. Two of my aunts also added their stories to this collection.

I gradually added the facts on my dad's siblings and parents. As for my maternal line I had varoius "cousins" who were also interested in their roots and were willing to share whatever information they had. Most of this initial research was done before computers were available, so it meant either writing for information or trips to archives, court houses, churches and various other repositories. Family reunions were a real bonus, giving me an opportunity to interview relatives and add even more data to my records. Doing resarch the "old fashioned way" was a slow time consuming process which occasionally was put on the back burner while my own life took precedence.

When I got married and started my own family, I had little time to devote to this hobby. My books and papers were temporarily filed away, but my ancestors were still very present in my heart and mind.

Stay tuned for my next installment on the evolution of research!


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