Have you ever wondered where you come from? Who you’ve descended from? How they lived and what are their stories? I must admit for the longest time I’d never given it a thought until about two years ago on St. Patricks day when I was asked the classic question “Are you Irish?”. I felt quite embarrassed to answer that I didn’t know. How could I not know where my family comes from? All I knew was my grandparents were born in Canada.
My research all started with a couple questions to my parents about their grandparents. It just took off from there. Looking at things such as census records, cemetery records, military service records, and ship passenger lists gave me a whole new look on my family history. After a couple of months, I broke down and joined the well known Ancestry website, where all records are searchable, making finding new information easier. The most interesting part of doing this type of research is contacting relatives I never knew existed; people who are on the other side of the world who share the same last name, or passed on first or middle family name.
When doing genealogy research it is extremely easy to get out of hand and even easier to pick up the wrong trail and follow someone else’s family tree. I have laid a couple ground rules out when building my own family tree which include: (1) not getting off track by following the family tree of someone who married into the family; and (2) not assuming a person is related without evidence such as documents showing relations. For example, marriage certificates are great for this as they usually include the names of the parents and the maiden names of the mothers for the couple getting hitched.
While my interest in genealogy is strong, my wallet cannot sustain the membership costs of the Ancestry website and I will eventually be making the executive decision to cancel it. When starting out, all I wanted to know was “Am I Irish?”. I can say with some degree of certainty… that I am actually 27.5% Irish to be more exact, with some English and Colonial American as well.