This past week I embarked on a project. The best part is that really it was completely by accident. Really though…. aren’t those the best kind of projects? I will put it simply: I discovered Ancestory.com. Now that sounds silly, because it has been around forever. However, this was my first experience with it.
It started off with a random thought. Green Lantern and I started to plan our big trips for the year. I was insistent that I wanted to go to Edinburgh, because I had heard such wonderful things about it. Besides that, I also heard it was the most haunted city in the world, which sounded fun. He agreed, and reminded me that he had Scottish in his family. This sparked a train of thought for me. Here we were, living in Europe, and didn’t really know anything about where we came from. I knew that I had German in my family; For all I knew, I could be living down the street from where my ancestors came from. I mean, I knew that my Great Grandpa, who died in World War II was buried in France, and we had made plans to go out that way to see, but what else could we be seeing?
I stewed on this for a while. Another mutual friend of ours suggested Ancestory.com, and talked about the success she had gotten from it. I decided to give it a shot. However, I discovered quickly that until you actually sign up, you can’t get anywhere. I decided to give it some thought. I got my momma Phoenix on the phone, and she encouraged me to give it a try. I signed up for the two-week free trial, and set to work with what I knew myself, and what she could tell me.
Now before you start thinking that I am just losing my mind waiting for my Lantern to come home, I swear it isn’t true. I would be lying if I said I didn’t consider the possibility that it would make time pass faster, but I truly did it because I wanted to know about what our family, together, is made of. It just turned out lucky for me that it took as much time as it did. 🙂
This presented an interesting dichotomy. On one hand, the site is easy to use, and is helpful to build your family tree back generation after generation. It shows you real documentation, pictures, personal stories, and links to websites you might find helpful. It gives you hints to try to find different people you might have missed. On the other hand, it is almost like taking on a full-time job. I spent hours pouring over census documents, lining up personal timelines, and trying to decipher the handwriting of people long since dead. I looked at gravesite and stones. I peered at pictures of my family; pictures of people who I had no idea were even part of my family. Best of all, I got specifics. It wasn’t just names and birth-dates and death-dates, though in the midst sometimes it felt like that. I found the name of the ship that carried my ancestors to America. Not only am I German on one side, but that German is mixed with a little French and a little Swiss. I found out I also had Scottish and Irish on my mother’s side, along with the Norwegian and English I always knew we had. I could tell Green Lantern the exact unit that his relatives served in during the Revolutionary War. I could even tell him the tartans of his Scottish Clan, which he is planning on getting a kilt made in.
I have always been a history buff, but this gave me a new appreciation. My mother was so happy with everything I had been finding; so interested in where our family came from. Green Lantern was impressed with everything I had managed to find. I was happy. I love knowing where I came from, and added a bunch of things to my list of places to see before we leave Europe. Actually, I even added a couple of places to see once he and I head back to the states. It breathes life into the concept that we are truly blessed. We have been given opportunities that are not available to just anyone because of the military, and I think it would be silly to waste it. After all, they may take my Lantern from me occasionally, but we have to make the most of the time we do have.
Cheers until Next Time,