Proposal for my genealogical search

10 Feb

Have you ever wondered where you come from? Not your recent history, your distant history. The blood you carry in your veins carries components of the blood of your ancestors. How long have your ancestors lived in the United States and what nations did they come from?

There are a few organizations that are concerned with your lineage – your genealogy – The Daughters of the American Revolution and the Daughters of the Confederacy. For each of these organizations, you need to trace your family tree either back to an ancestor who was in the United States during the founding of our nation or back to the Civil War to gain membership. I am sure their requirements are quite stringent, but I will barely touch on these organizations. My research will be mainly concerned with my own ancestry.

When, in the past, I had been asked what my ancestry is, I have said, “mostly Irish.” While that is true, I have been told that I am Irish, English, French, Holland Dutch, and Seneca Indian. I have always been interested in my roots, but never thought I could trace my roots. Too complicated, I thought.

I plan to trace my roots and build my family tree one branch at a time. I will start by interviewing members of the Historical Society to help gain a footing on where I should begin my search. I’ll search for sources that may help me find information about my ancestors. I’ll finally go through the box of family artifacts and papers my mother gave me when she moved out of state. I don’t know much about how to search, but will learn along the way.

I am sure there are other people out there who would be interested in working on their own family tree, but, just like me, don’t know where to start. I plan to create an article for publication to a trade journal, like Family Tree magazine. This is such an extensive, ongoing subject, that I have even considered making it the subject of my thesis – perhaps a nonfiction book concerning the journey I’ll take searching for my roots. We shall see where the journey takes me.


Posted by on February 10, 2010 in First steps


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2 responses to “Proposal for my genealogical search

  1. Bill Wolff

    February 11, 2010 at 9:46 am

    I very much like the idea of making this a story about your journey and as such the narrative would be a description of the journey. For an example of this kind of journey piece (on a very different subject) you might check out the absolutely phenomenal Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash by Elizabeth Royte ( –especially if you are thinking about making this an extended piece. I’m reading it now. Her writing and ability to weave interviews and commentary into the narrative is overwhelmingly good. There are also, I suspect, genealogy subcultures of people who are incredibly focused on the subject. It would also be interesting to profile others who have one through this process to see what they have uncovered, how they have found what they have found, and so on. I also recall that one of the genealogy sites a while back had all sorts of wonderful material on the slave trade–names, dates, documents, sale prices, and so forth (I just tried to find it, but will search more later). It’s also amazing how many web sites there are to search and/or organize these searches. Looking forward to seeing what you uncover!

  2. Mary Chrapliwy

    February 13, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    The book you recommend sounds interesting. I’ll see if I can check it out of the library.

    My only concern with making this a personal narrative-type piece is the source material. I can find quite a few sources and schedule interviews, but I’m not sure I can find 8 academic sources.


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