I went to the temple with some friends this week. While we were there family history came up and I asked my friend if she could teach me how to do my own family history.
Every time I pulled up my information on Family Search I felt lost. Half my family was missing. My own father didn’t even show up until he died. Talk about holes in my family! What names I did have attached to me had inaccurate information. My grandma was shown as living when all my aunts and uncles said she passed away in 2012. Things were not right and I had no idea how to fix anything.
Elizabeth came over today to help. Our kids ran around like savages playing while she walked me through a lot of the capabilities of the site. She helped me merge duplicates into one person which filled in my chart so nicely. Both my grandparents had duplicates and my dad also had duplicates. We fixed it all. We also fixed a strange misunderstanding.
My great grandfather had some duplicates. Each duplicate name of his had him married to a different woman. Three different women! Who was the right wife? Two census records were available and that’s how we determined one mistake. One of his names had him married to a Millie. Another had him married to a Nelly. The census records showed his wife’s name handwritten as you would expect from a census. One clearly said Millie while the other could easily be interpreted as Nelly but the letters were all there. It was a little sloppy but her name was Millie.
Somehow another duplicate of my great grandfather’s name had him married to his daughter. Once we fixed the Millie and Nelly issue then his daughter went back to being his daughter. I felt better knowing who my grandmother’s family was and that the information was complete and correct.
My aunt was right though. All the temple work has been done. What few names I have found needing temple work done are already reserved. Another family member is planning on doing the work. I know I have the option of asking the one who reserved the information to release it so I can do it. But it’s work for my grandpa’s siblings’ families or something like that. Nothing in my direct line and not too many generations away from me either. I think I need to “find cousins” further back than that.
It was definitely an exciting day. I love just seeing the names and seeing a full fan. The lopsided one was making me sad. As Elizabeth walked me through different steps I would see a picture with the name. She was happy that I had so many pictures because she doesn’t have many pictures of her family on the site. I would pull up a name and see the picture and say, “Yep, that’s him!” or “That’s her!” I would tell a few stories about the person. After a while Elizabeth told me I should add those stories so other people could read them.
Some of the stories I told her were things I had heard told to me as a kid. I don’t have a written record of it. That makes me feel a little wary of sharing it online as if it’s fact. I would have to check with someone first to make sure I told the story correctly. But my aunt gave me a binder full of family information for my dad’s side of the family. I figure anything typed in there is fair to enter on Family Search. I have a written record of it.
My favorite story is that the E at the end of Clarke was dropped for a period of time and then the church leaders asked my great grandpa to reinstate it. One of his children never did. I wish I knew more but that is a pretty cool story. Elizabeth pointed out that that story would clarify the information attached to that great uncle. Some sources say Clark while others say Clarke. The story would help someone know for sure that yes, it is the same man.
I have scrolled through my family and it looks like the first names I need to find occur in the 16 and 1700’s. That could be interesting to try to figure out who the missing parents are. Besides putting in any stories or pictures I have that may be all I can do. Find missing parent names from hundreds of years ago. In the meantime I’m sure Elizabeth would welcome my help in doing the temple work for her ancestors. I have already helped her once with that.
There is something so satisfying about feeling connected to someone. The celebrities on the show Who Do You Think You Are? get very emotional when they learn about their families. Many of them get emotional just seeing a pedigree chart laid out. It is so fulfilling to see how a family fits together. I just wish I could go on the same type of journey those celebrities get to go on. Instead my journey will take much longer since I have to do all the legwork myself. Family history is fascinating stuff.