Sunday, January 2, 2011


Have I ever mentioned my love for genealogy? 

I just recently started getting really into it. My fascination started with my husband's grandmother showing me old photos "this is my grandma's grandfather..." she would say {aka Ben's great-great-great-great grandfather}, "this is the rocking chair he made," {in her living room for Zuriah and Anah to use}, "he raised my grandmother..." {the above photo is him with her grandmother and great-aunt}. What a wealth of information I might lose if I don't start to write this down. So I began to write down everything I could get from all sides of my family. 

I'd ask

dates {birth, marriage, death}

I haven't started using a recorder for stories, but that would be a great idea.

This is a letter dated 1858 that Ben's grandmother had- it's from a man who was headed west for the gold rush {I presume}. She has no clue how she's related but she knows she is somehow. I'm determined to find out.

I'm still sort of in stage one of interviewing family but I have done a little more research on some branches. I've used a trial to which has been fantastic {I'm really considering a membership}. I've found ship records, census records with addresses, even a handwritten passport application written by my great-great-great grandfather. 


When I was home over Christmas I went to a German Heritage Center they have in Davenport, Iowa {where all my dad's side of the family is from}. I knew that side had a lumber company and were pretty wealthy, but I really had no clue how big all of it was. They were actually mentioned several times at the museum I was at! The photo above are a few of the workers from the lumber company.

When talking with my mom she showed me a letter written by my great-grandfather right before he was about to leave for WWI, he was 18. I've learned a great deal just from talking with relatives. 

When talking with my dad about his family I found every man 5 generations back was an entrepreneur of some kind. THAT'S where I get it! I love finding out where I'm from.

Through census records and newspaper articles {microfilm from the library}, I've found one of the towns we're from in Germany:

Heiligenhafen {which I've learned to spell and pretend to know how to pronounce} Schleswig Holstein {northern Germany}

YES I want to go there. And I will, but who knows when.


You can see how exciting it can be once you get started! One of the most exciting things I love about it is telling my family once I find something- I've more than surprised a number of them with things I've found.

So here are the steps as far as I can tell on how to research your family:

No. 1  
talk with relatives and get as much information as possible {get names, dates, people, places, stories, photos etc.}

No. 2   
start researching from home using a site like or going to the library 

No. 3  
travel to towns in your country where you know your ancestors lived. Most likely you'll find much more information, such as newspaper articles and photos than you would in another city.

No. 4    
Once you've found all that you feel you can from your country, you can either write letters to your ancestors cities where they're from in other countries, {churches have baptism, birth, marriage, and death records centuries old} or you can physically travel there if you have the means.


Fun, huh?  


  1. The library in Grandview has free access to a bunch of ancestry stuff on their computers. Dan has been wanting to check into it. But you have to use their computers. Might be but I'm not sure.

  2. ooh good to know, I'll have to look into it. Also Independence has a huge genealogy library, perfect if you have fam from the area, but they can always order things in for you too.



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