I am an unashamed family history addict. If family history crops up in casual conversation then the chances are that I will launch a passionate pitch telling people that they should learn their family’s story. Researching my family tree is one of the best things I decided to do.
In this blog post I will share with you what I have learned researching my family tree.
Truths, Half Truths & Downright Lies
When I started the genealogy journey in 2012 I only knew a handful of stories involving both sides of my family. In a short space of time I learned some of the tales were true, some were tall tales, full of half-truths.
And a couple of established family history stories that recorded evidence proved they were downright lies.
Researching my family tree has made me keep an open mind about family stories. Previously I just accepted most of the stories as fact.
When I look to confirm some of the established family history, the truth has hurt at times and occasionally shocked.
My Family Tree Is Massive
And that’s only the branches that I have found when researching my family tree. On both sides. Before research, my family lived in a micro family universe. Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and Grandparents were my family.
If I did not research, I would be none the wiser. Researching my family tree led me to discover that I have hundreds of extended relatives across the world.
But a lot of extended relatives were living within a small radius of the area I grew up in. It is a near certainty we walked past each other in the street for decades of our lives.
We share the same surname, we share Centimorgans of DNA.
Yet we do not know each other. And its likely to stay that way with the majority.
Not Everyone Is Interested
Researching my family tree and learning that I have a large clan of living relatives influenced me to take things further: Contacting them.
Unfortunately, this part of my family history journey has led to more closed doors than open ones.
There are relatives out there, who are likely to help me in my quest to find a photo of my Grandfather and his family.
But for reasons only known to them, it’s a closed-door. A lack of interest. Or a broken promise.
I do hope this changes in future.
The Passage Of Time
My family is old. Well, all families are old. From my point of view the passage of time is long. I know of people who knew/know their Great Grandparents. Well, my Great Grandfather Arthur Sherry was born in 1857 and died in 1918.
And I’m not an old man. Sometimes I feel that I should be older than I am. Distant relatives who contacted me in the past didn’t expect to find me. Some thought my branch of our family tree were long dead.
My Dad had a lot of cousins. When Dad arrived in 1940, his eldest cousin was 35, married with a family. They are brief examples of the passage of time I found when researching my family tree.
As a boy, everybody in the family was older. History has slightly repeated itself in some branches of my family tree. Some younger, closer relatives do not know who I am.
And I doubt if they know anything about our shared family history. Hence my research, and this blog!
As time passes, I hope my some of my younger relatives look into our shared family history.
Researching My Family Tree Will Never End
There are times when I have downed the genealogy tools and thought I’ve learned all I need to know about my family tree.
I was wrong.
It will never end. There are new people to find, new records to search, new stories to learn. New photos to see, and relatives to meet.
The tree keeps on growing. My research provides its nourishment and others will one day take over the tree’s wellbeing.
Researching my family tree will always be a work in progress. Like life itself.