Years ago, I started researching my family tree when I began having bouts of back pain from an old injury. It was during the summer of 2010 when I was ordered to do bed rest that I launched this journey. Because a person can only watch so much Netflix, that summer, I joined Ancestry, and I have been addicted since that time.
Over the years, I have loved the many stories and family histories that I have uncovered. For me, my ancestors came alive, and I was surprised at the close kinship I felt as I added each member to my tree. My grandkids loved the latest reports and often asked about new discoveries. Over the years, my daughter has homeschooled our little tribe, so she would often inquire about the latest findings, so she could plug it into their history lessons. It opened new doors and made the lessons more exciting when they knew how their family was intertwined to those historical events.
With this in mind, I began searching for those bonds. Two great sights that I found to find famous relatives included Relative Finder and Famous Kin. While I did unearth some errors, most of the time, the information was accurate, and it was often effortless to connect the branches of my tree to the given data.
When my granddaughters were younger, they loved reading the Little House on the Prairie series, so I was excited to tell them that the author, Laura Ingalls Wilder, was a distant cousin. My little girls were thrilled about that discovery. The closest alliance I found was through my maternal grandmother although I have discovered that I may also be linked through my father too; I need to still connect all the dots for this side of the family. Through my research, I learned that my maternal and paternal families have often shared famous relatives. Still, I must admit, I haven’t double checked every relationship when it comes to the linkages between the two families, for I usually research the closest ties.
When I was younger, one day I overheard my maternal grandmother and my father talking about family history. They realized their families resided in counties close to one another in Michigan. They often joked that they were related. If this was true, I haven’t found any kissing cousins between them, but I have uncovered that from colonial times their two families lived often lived close to one another. Guess, our families were destined to come together, eventually.
For some time, I wanted to make a map of all the places my family has lived. It would be interesting to see just how closely they did live together. For example, I believed my father and my grandmother’s family knew one another during the time of the Salem Witch Trials. Both families lived in this village. Some were accusers, and others the accused. Hmmm…sounds like my next project! I really want to start a map. Has anyone tried this? And does anyone have any ideas on a simple way to save this information? My little prairie cottage is small, so I would need something that would not take up too much room. If I could keep it on my laptop, I would be in heaven! All suggestions and ideas welcome!