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Genealogy - an addiction with benefits

Updated: Jan 25, 2021

Genealogy is like a giant jigsaw puzzle gradually revealing a mysterious picture, but instead of a box with a picture of the finished puzzle, you are the picture. Learning who your ancestors were reveals the pieces of the puzzle that is you - beyond the person you see in the mirror. It starts out as a blur, but with each new piece found, the blur begins to come into focus. It has a way of changing our perspective and telling us that we have been on a long journey, spanning many generations, bringing us to the place we are today.

When we lose our family history, we lose the valuable lessons our ancestors learned along the journey - the ones they often paid for with their lives. We grow wiser by learning from their experiences as they faced problems common to mankind today and from the beginning - the struggle for survival among natural disasters, sickness, disease, oppression, greed, and other obstacles we haven't even considered.

History teaches us that our decisions impact the future, just as the decisions of our ancestors have impacted our lives today, in one way or another. Feuding neighbors in the 14th century could easily share descendants today. Imagine, two of your 5th great-grandfather's face to face in battle. If they had known that they would both end up in your family tree, would they have been more brotherly and kind toward each other? This is the greatest lesson of researching one's family history. We realize we are all connected.

By cheating or oppressing a stranger today, you may be harming your great-grandchildren down the road. History teaches us that we should be kind to all and I believe that society's overall disconnection with history has led to more greed, corruption, and general unkindness in the world.

No matter how pleasant or unpleasant the journey was for your ancestors, the fact that you are reading this is evidence that they were survivors with sufficient ability and strength to leave a seed that survives today - you. Unlike billions who died throughout history without having children, your ancestors left a seed that still lives and breathes today, leaving copies of their genetic code in your DNA, which physically define your genetic traits.

Advances in the study of genetics are astonishing, but I believe they're just beginning to scratch the surface of the vast complexity of the human genome. It is fascinating to view DNA matches on Ancestry, though. If you're interested in being tested, you can get your test on Amazon.

It's a great time for genealogy, that's for sure! With DNA testing and the multitude of resources available online at your fingertips, from the comfort of your own home, it's now easier than ever to trace your family's history. I began tracing mine in the year 2000 when I knew nothing beyond my grandparents and some great-grandparents. With a lot of work and help from others, I have since discovered the identities of several hundred of my ancestors and, of course, we're still finding more. was created to share my finds and generate interest in family history. If we share ancestors, you can find information about any common ancestors we share by clicking My Family in the site menu at the top of the page. You can also choose a State from the dropdown menu at the top of the page to see my (or our) ancestors who were born, married, died, or buried in that State, as well as any resources for finding records in that State. From each State's page, you can choose a County and see the same - a map of the County, a list of towns in the County, my (or our) ancestors born, married, died or buried in the County and any known resources for the County. Finally, if you select a Town, you can see a map of the town, my (or our) ancestors born, married, buried or died in the Town, and any known resources or historical books about the town. On these pages, you can click on the ancestor's name to go to their profile where any information I've collected, including records, photos, or other memorabilia pertaining to the person can be found there. You might also enjoy the Family Album, the Wall of Honor, featuring my 40+ veteran grandfathers, or the Virtual Family Cemetery. Subscribe for updates and if you have anything to contribute and share with us all, please contact me.

Family or not, you're welcome to use my Genealogy Dashboard with links to the many places I go to find free genealogy records online - biographies, cemetery records, census records, church records, foreign records, immigration records, maps, marriage records, land records, newspapers, military records, photographs, vital records and more! Search or browse by record type or choose a State from the dropdown list at the top of the page to view maps and resources for the State.

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