Tag Archives: genealogy

Information Overload

I go through phases in which whatever I am into at the time, I devote almost 24/7 time to.  Well, I ocassionally stop for a bathroom break, but I really get wrapped up in the task.  When my father gave me several boxes full of old family photos (some taken before he was born) and some old birth and wedding certificates a few years ago, I went on line and googled every name I found in them.  I searched every corner of ancestry.com and any other genealogy web site I could find.  I have a huge file filled with information about family from both my father’s and mother’s sides.  I started collecting info about descentants of ancestors (distant cousins) but had to stop because it was just too much.  Now I just concentrate on direct ancestors. 

Last night as I sat here finishing my last blog, my youngest son was sitting at the kitchen table (my “office” is right next to it) asking me question after question.  I probably heard every other one.  With him, you could miss half of what he says and still get into the conversation at any time.  He LOVES to talk, to anyone at anytime.  He was 2 when we moved to Japan.  At the park, he would get into “conversations” with 60-year-old Japanese men; he spoke no Japanese, and the men spoke no English.  At that age, kids are learning new words everyday.  We would have to go through a small toll booth each time we drove in a certain area of the city we lived in.  After you give the money to the toll collector, he says, “Dozo” (pronounced with the long o sound) which means “Please (go ahead).”  Well, my son started saying it back when we would go through the toll booth, but his 2-year-old pronunciation was “Dodo!”   Needless to say, it was very difficult for me to get through the toll booth each time without cracking up.

Today he went to the dentist to get a couple of fillings.  He doesn’t have cavities from too many sweets; his teeth have little pockets that needed to be filled before they turn into something more serious.  So the dentist had to numb his gums.  But did that slow him down any?  No, he couldn’t stop telling me where he could and couldn’t feel things in his mouth and that he could feel it moving toward his ear.  He said the dentist told him not to chew on anything for a while, including his tongue.  He actually started a discussion with me as to why the dentist would tell him this.  Then he asked if he would be able to eat lunch, and he was very concerned whether he’d be able to play his trombone in band class (which is held after lunch time).  I sometimes wonder how he gets along at school without talking during class.  I have been told by all of his teachers how wonderful he is at school, so helpful, so kind, so inquisitive.  But I’ve never been told that he won’t stop talking to his neighbors.  He must save it all for me when he gets home. 

So, today I decided to check out some other blogs, now that I’ve been doing this for a few weeks.  I found out I still have a lot to learn, like how do you get music to play on a blog?  and how do you personalize it so it isn’t just one of the default templates in the background?  and how do I get through reading all of the ones I like and write mine without sitting in front of the computer from the time the kids leave for school in the morning until they walk in the door again in the afternoon?

I am having fun reading others’ outlooks on life and learning about new uses for used dryer sheets (really; see http://thenigburfamily.blogspot.com/2008/09/works-for-me-used-dryer-sheets.html).  And I found yet another place to get cookie recipes 🙂  (http://thecuttingedgeofordinary.blogspot.com/).  My daughter will be soooo excited.  She loves to bake (like mother, like daughter); I think my husband is worrying that he will never lose those freshman fifteen (the 15 pounds he’s gained from our 9th grade daughter’s baking).  Maybe, eventually, somehow, I will learn to tame all the information coming my way.  But probably not.

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History Lessons

I have always loved to hear family stories.  I remember as a little girl listening to my grandmother tell my sisters and me about growing up in South Carolina with 4 brothers and 3 sisters and then moving to Florida when she was 12.  I wanted to be where she spoke of.  It was then that I started asking about ancestors.  I wanted to know where our families had come from.  My mother’s side is mainly English with some Scottish.  My father’s fraternal grandparents were Czech and his maternal side was French.  My mother-in-law and her mother have found someone from one side of their family was on the Mayflower and another side back to Robert the Bruce in Scotland.  We have compared a few notes between my husband’s family and mine and see where some of their paths could have crossed in the past.  With all the resources on the internet now, I have learned new things my parents couldn’t pass on to me about their families and have met a lot of cousins. 

Before we moved to Paris a couple of years ago, I met a distant cousin through the internet who lives in France.  He didn’t speak any English, but I had just learned to speak French.  So when we moved there, my family and I were able to visit the quaint town of Muttersholtz, Alsace, France where my great-great grandparents lived before they immigrated to the US.  There, we were taken on a horse-drawn carriage tour of the city by some other distant cousins.  We kept meeting cousins along the ride, and it felt like a reunion.  A few months later we were invited back as special guests to the unveiling of a book that had been written about the town’s history.  They had put a picture of my children and me in the book under a 2-page write-up about how my great-great grandparents, a couple of uncles, and a few cousins had left France for the “New Frontier” of the United States.  They seemed so proud of their connection to the US and of having several of the off-spring of previous citizens of Muttersholtz in their midst that day.

I have fun reasearching my family’s genealogy, and maybe one day my children will enjoy reading the stories and interesting facts I have collected over the years.  I know they love history class at school, so maybe they will love their family history as well.  My youngest son’s 4th grade history class was based on the Greeks all year long.  I knew he was really into it when everytime we went to the bookstore or library, he came to me with an armload of books about the ancient Greeks or a Greek god or a Greek dictionary.  He couldn’t get enough of it.  He even did a special report, not assigned by the teacher, for the class.  My kids come home often with, “Did you know…?” and have a new interesting fact unknown to them before that day.  

History is important in many ways.  It tells the story of life.  It tells us where we came from and may give a glimpse to where we are going.  It tells what may have been done wrong in the past and gives us the opportunity to do it right or maybe just better the next time.

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