Sunday, October 9, 2011

How did I get started in Genealogy?

I teach a genealogy class each semester at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute for Widener University. Each semester I begin the genealogy class telling the story of visiting cemeteries throughout the Midwestern United States as part of every summer vacation that I can remember. My mom always gave the kids (my brother, sister and myself) the same task and reward, “Find the tombstone with this person’s name, and you can choose the place for dinner
tonight.” For many years I thought that this was the same experience every child had during vacation.

It wasn’t until my mid-20s that I realized these experiences were at the heart of genealogy research. I then began to learn more about genealogy, as my husband and I researched my husband’s ancestors with my mother’s help. The research took us from Montana, the birthplace of my husband, back to Texas, Missouri, Tennessee, and North Carolina in the 1770s.

Throughout the process my mother made sure I studied the stories of the relatives, not to just find the documents that established their lineage, but to research the history and background of the era to better understand why people moved or bought and sold land. It was also during this time that I watched her write and publish several articles about our Fox relatives.

Upon her death in 2006, I received 40 boxes and four filing cabinets of genealogy materials. Pictures, files, documents, and stories—all left for me to learn more about my ancestors.

Last week at a conference (I am by day a continuing educator) one session talked about how blogging could be a great way to communicate information to others. I realized that blogging would be a great way for me to journal my research in genealogy, and to be able to share my work with others. Thus the "birth" of Leaving a Legacy!

The work from the class has resulted in an article that was just published. You can find it here:

Meanwhile - who am I researching? On my parents side we have the names of Coffman and King (my dad's parents) and Fox and Yoder (my mother's parents). On my husbands side we have the names of Richardson and Coleman (his fathers parents) and on his mothers side we have Robertson and Braun. I am hopeful that this blog will help me to stretch my thinking and share the stories of my family.

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