Friday, March 11, 2011

Family History Bug

Brian and I have got it.  I think we were pretty much set up for it.  Our mothers both gave us some amazing records, Brian works for (a new assignments is to actually research genealogy a few hours a month on the clock so he understands the needs of those using his programs), and his calling at church is to teach the family history consultants, who in turn teach the people in the ward how to research their own family history.

Brian got excited when he found records to go back another generation thanks to a 1920 New Mexico census.  I'm currently thrilled because I asked my sister in Switzerland, who in turn asked an uncle for family pictures. This morning's email was full of amazing black and white pictures of people I've never seen, but are obviously relatives.  I would love to find some stories behind them.  Still trying to figure out who they all are.  I'm sure it only matters to my sisters and me, but I'll include some.

 My grandpa Max who died 10 years before I was born.

And his father Balthasar sitting in the middle with a mustache. I like how the only things on the menu behind are wurst and beer.

And  his mother Berta, she looks so sweet.  My favorite thing is the little boy in the eidelweiss suspenders.

It's amazing how easy computers are making this research.  Not long before Esme was born I waddled my way downtown to the family history library, the best one on the earth and had a traumatizingly fruitless day.  Hours hunched over a microfiche machine, getting dizzy, trying to read records in strange hand-writing and figure out 1800's Swiss abbreviations.  I searched the possible church records and stopped when the lady said next was a census, taken door-to-door.  No alphabetical order, just a guy walking down a street, stopping at each house to find their information.  I walked away knowing only that "Jh." was short for Johann and that this must be why it's usually only old people that do this, they have time and, aparently, much more patience.  The volunteers helping me were experts, I'm grateful for that.

Not to daunt anyone. Luckily many American records are online and keyword searchable thanks to all the indexing volunteers that read records and type them (which is done twice and checked a third time for accuracy) so census' and such are easily searched.  That's how Brian found a new generation of great-great grandparents in a matter of minutes sitting on the couch.  I wonder if it's more fulfilling to find information that way or the hard way.

1 comment:

Blackham Fam said...

I love looking at old pics of family. It's so cool to think about what their lives were like. I'm so excited that you found more info. It's awesome!