Exploring the Origins of My Family Line with Ancestry.com #surnameproject

Tuesday, August 19, 2014
This article is sponsored by Ancestry.com. As always, all opinions are my own.

I've always been fascinated by genealogy. The thought of my ancestors arriving in the United States by boat a hundred plus years ago fills me with wonder and curiosity. While I have gleamed some information from family members, there are still gaps to be filled in.

Ancestry.com has made it possible to fill in those gaps and learn more about my surname and my family tree. Ancestry.com is the world’s largest online resource for family history. Ancestry strives to fill the fundamental desire people have to understand who they are and where they came from. With a unique collection of billions of historical records, including handwritten historical documents and state and local government archives, Ancestry is the perfect place to learn fun and interesting facts about your family’s tree.

The first step I took with Ancestry.com was to create a preliminary family tree by adding myself, my parents, and my grandparents. I will continue with the family tree by adding my sisters and my children. But for now, here is the initial tree.

One of the things I love about Ancestry.com is that there isn't any required information that must be entered before you move on. If you have the information in your head or readily available, you can add it. If you don't, you can come back and add it once you have it.

So, about that information you don't have. You do have a name, right? Head over the Ancestry.com's "Search" feature and type in the name. The more information you have about the person (middle name, birth year, city of residence), the better Ancestry.com is at filtering applicable results.

I searched on my grandfather's name and his city of residence. I found his birth and death dates and his parents' names. I plugged those into the family tree, and within an hour or so, I had found his great-grandparents.

I spent hours tracing back my mother's family line. When I finally stopped, hours into the project, I had traced it back to someone born in 1650 in France. France! I have French ancestors! I always knew I had a little French in me.

I had no idea how engrossed I would become in this project. Nor did I realize how quickly it would take me to get there. Just a few generations back and I was hooked. I kept telling myself that after I found information on a generation, I would stop and pick up where I left off another day. But I was hooked. I couldn't stop.

I had no idea that Ancestry.com was filled with so much factual information about my family. It contains census records, military records, real estate records, birth, death, and marriage records.

Here is what my family tree looks like now, compared to what it looked like above when I first started. It's difficult to read the detail, but you can see how many generations back I was able to trace.

I am truly amazed. When I was asked to do this project, I had no idea how much I would learn about my ancestors. And I haven't finished yet.

I will be writing a follow up post with more information to share as I further plot my family tree.

In the meantime, I invite you to join Ancestry.com and enjoy a free trial membership. Getting started is quick and easy, and I assure you...you will not regret it.


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