As I have indicated at other times, my family and I have had an interest in genealogy. I don’t know how far back it really began. I have seen a copy of one of the family Bibles as far back as the late 1800’s, listing births and deaths of family members, which implies and interest far back. My parents began gathering scraps of paper with hand written names of family members from aunts, uncles, cousins and parents generations preceding them. The papers didn’t include birth, death or marriages dates or places and there were very few pictures.
I don’t recall exactly, when I picked this up, but it was somewhere around 2003. I began gathering the names and placing them into an ancestry program. I recorded as many of my paternal members, AND maternal branches as I could find. Unlike many family recorders, I believed that not only the paternal side to be important, but so to was the influence of many women that married into it. I seem to have lost count, but I think I’ve located close to 1500 ancestors. I must have been (and still) obsessed, because I soon launched into my wife’s complete line(s) also, having located documents prepared by her maternal grandmother. Her listed ancestors now extends to about 700.
I published our first “family” books in 2010, a set for our children and a set for my wife’s siblings. The winter of 2015-16 finds me returning to the research and updating a “New Master Genealogy Book”. I had anticipated the completion of many little projects this winter, but the research and verifications has had a time consuming affect on me.
Many people devote genealogy research to elevate their own status, in one way or another. I however, believe it’s interesting to just understand where we came from and to imagine what “they” must have gone through to survive.
And so it was, in my early research days that I discovered a book written in the 1920’s listing my paternal family, which turned out to be TOTALLY bogus. In my research I had discovered a before unknown cousin, Frank. Frank had been preforming extensive research on the family and like me, many of the his maternal links. While I believed myself to be Scotch-Irish, through Frank I learned we were actually English. Frank and I have never met but I feel a real connection.
Although we study little about it today, the Dutch landed in the New World and established the colony of New Amsterdam. Amongst the New Amsterdam settlement was an English settlement called Gravesend. Later, New Amsterdam was turned over to the English and became New York, and Gravesend became part of Brooklyn and also included todays’ Coney Island.
It was through Frank’s research of New Amsterdam/New York and church records that new facts were learned. I discovered that about five (5) generations of my English family, married Dutch women, and most of the children were christened in Dutch Reformed Churches. If the families weren’t members of Dutch Churches as they moved west, then they were members of Presbyterian Churches.
Cousin Frank has done a magnificent job putting all this information together. After all, when using a paid service like I do with Ancestry.com you must be wary. While the links to the official documents are correct, information from members family trees is often mis-leading.
After this winters research I decided to do one last search and check out Cousin Frank’s new family website. Nope nothing new. And, as usual, I sent Frank my every 2-3 year Hi how are Ya email, a couple of days ago.
This morning I decided to show my wife, Frank’s new website, having only my mobile device, I did a quick search on Frank, I didn’t see his Website, but I did see his Obit.
Last October, cousin Frank moved from relative to ancestor. I never met Frank, but I feel a void in the force.