About ten years ago, a distant relative named Joel Gregory Harris compiled a book called William H. Harris: 1840-1875, Descendants of a Confederate Soldier. Within this roughly 200-page book is the outlined family history of one of my great-great-great-grandfathers. With copies of original Civil War documents, transcriptions of Wills, stories and hundreds of people named as family relations, it's one of the most fascinating books I've ever read.

As a strange and unexpected by-product to wedding planning, I've been struggling a bit with the feeling of losing my own history and identity, moving from my family to his. When Dad died, Sissy and I both had a long conversation about how we're his kids and how we need to not only embrace history, we need to consider ourselves buds on our family tree -- just waiting for the opportunity to start our own families and become our own branch. Every day that passes, I'm a little closer to becoming my own branch.

Well, I've self-proclaimed myself Family Historian...and I'm taking on the WHOLE family! I've signed up for a genealogy website and started compiling as much information as possible. Once the wedding's over and Ohio's winter is in full swing, I'm going to dedicate at least a couple of hours a week to working on it. It's going to be hard work, but if I don't do it, who will?

This begs the question: Have you ever done any family tree investigation? Where did you start? Have any advice or recommendations for someone just starting?


Tenille said...

I'm pretty good about knowing direct relations - like my great great great grandparents - but I'm a little lost when it comes to "other branches" like my grandpa's sister's daughter's kids.

I think as much details as possible work best for me as well as HOW they are related to me (like above). I tend to remember when I make it more personal.

HennHouse said...

Great questions!

My dad is our self-proclaimed family historian. When we adopted the boys, he added them right onto the tree without a question or hesitation. Their birth dates and adoption dates are right there. I know it has nothing to do with your project, but I do love the analogy of families being like trees. Grown, transplanted, grafted. Such a beautiful illustration.

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