Heart of a Southern Woman

A snapshot of life one blog post at a time.

Genealogy, One of My Passions!

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      Over the last couple of years, I have discovered a new passion! Perhaps I should even say an obsession! Genealogy! More specifically, ancestry.com! I haven’t shared  much about it, which is amazing, because most of my time for the last two years, especially during the winter, is spent on ancestry.com. It started out innocently enough, I wanted to find out a little about the Italian side of my mother’s family. I knew they were there, I just knew very little about them. My last remaining aunt, one of my mother’s six sisters, was turning 90, and I wanted to do a very simple family tree for her, a direct line chart showing her Irish and Italian grandparents and great grandparents. 

     I had heard that ancestry.com was the place to get this information, so I signed up for a free 14 day trial, thinking that would be all I would want or need. Good gracious, its been two years, and rarely a day goes by that doesn’t find me logging on at one time or another! 

       I started out with my mother, father and my grandparents. Now in my original family tree, I have over 9,000 relatives! Besides that, I’ve developed a separate family tree for my husband’s family where I’ve catalogued 3,000 family members! I was having so much fun, that I had to share the wealth, so I helped some friends and family members start or work on their own family trees , to the tune of five more trees!  On top of that, I have met so many other interesting people, many cousins I never knew I had, and we have decided to “share” trees so that we can help each other find interesting or hard to find information. It is amazing to me that I now share 24 family trees with other people! I love it, and thank you very much my wonderful friends and family who share with me! Many of them have taught me how to find things, how to document, how to enjoy! 
         Working on the trees is like putting a huge puzzle together, except you’re finding your blood relatives! There’s something very special about that to me–these aren’t just names on a paper, they are my grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles! Some of the lines go back 30 or 40 generations. I think the furthest back I go is during the 700’s–Charlemagne! He is my 38th great grandfather! Can you imagine, his and all those after him– their blood flows through mine. There personality traits, their courage, their intelligence runs through my veins also! It inspires me to be better, to try harder, to live up to their bravery! 

Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire Charles Great Charlemagne

Your 38th great grandfather
Birth 742 in Hesse, Darmstadt, Hessen, Germany
Death 777 in Aachen, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
     There are so many cool things you can do and discover on ancestry, I really want to tell you about it in the next couple of posts. There are other really cool sites also I’ll tell you about! Like fold3, and genealogybank.com. You get the stories there, the information that brings your ancestors to life for you! You’ll feel like you get to know them! I’ve got so many stories to tell! 
     I’m planning to hold a little contest as well. Sometime, after a few more entries about this hobby, I will draw a name from all who leave a comment on any of these posts about genealogy. Then, I will help you find something fun, like a relative who fought in the Civil War perhaps, or some famous relatives you never knew you had! We will have to collaborate to see what we can find, but there will be either some old newspaper articles about a grandparent or great grandparent if they were here in the U.S.  or how about some muster cards showing that your ancestor fought in the Civil War and got paid that month! I am not offering a family tree my dear, but a couple pages of unique and interesting information for you, a keepsake.  So talk to me, tell me some of your family stories, or about your hobbies. Looking forward to hearing from you! Helen

Author: Helen Holshouser

Old enough to enjoy life, I am a Red Hatter, grandmother, gardener, and amateur genealogist. I am a retired clinical psychologist, master's level, who is disabled with heart disease, but having fun with family and friends. Married over 40 years, I have two grown daughters and three grandchildren. I have learned that grandchildren provide a joy one never knew existed---writing feeds my soul, gardening is therapy, and genealogy research makes me feel like a detective!

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