One of the ways that I've been coping lately with all the craziness of the living is to walk among the dead. No, I've not been strolling through cemeteries. I have, in fact, been walking – virtually – through generations of lives.
I have been finding and documenting birth and death records and all of the little things that go on in between. Land deeds. Marriage licenses. Birth announcements and obituaries. Military service records. Newspaper clippings about the latest family get together or church social.
In taking these little sojourns, I've identified family I didn't even know I had and unearthed ancestors I could never have planned on finding. I've even connected with a few new distant cousins along the way and is THAT ever cool! And, having reconnected with some of my first cousins recently, it's a nice way to share what we know – and don't – about our family.
I've been doing genealogy off and on for 25 or more years, and with any kind of real dedication for about half that. I even started a blog a few years ago to share my findings and brick walls with any would-be relatives but I wasn't very good about keeping it up. (I'm back on the wagon though so if you stop by, you'll find a handful of very recent posts.)
I've already gotten my paternal grandmother's line farther back than I ever thought possible. And this has included a PHOTO of my great-great-grandparents! Booyah!
There are SO many more online resources available than there were when I first started checking in the late 1990s. Back in the day, you had to load up MICROFILM and painstakingly scroll through to "browse."
My interest has been rejuvenated in part by the reprisal of the PBS series "Finding Your Roots" with Dr. Henry Louis Gates. (LOVE that man and this is one of the fastest hours on television for me every week.) NBC also has a genealogy-related show called "Who Do You Think You Are?"
Sometimes, it can be incredibly fun to find out. So, if you've got the itch to shake your family tree I say, "Shake, baby, shake."