In the past week I have been on a roller coaster ride of discovering lords and ladies, kings and queens, pilgrims and patriots - my epic family tree!
Going into the process, I thought I knew a lot. Meaning I could get back to the early 1800s on my dad's side of the family and always thought my heritage was predominantly German. Not so! My mom's side of the family is almost entirely from England! There are some Swiss, French, German, Dutch, Welsh, Scottish and Irish lines there too.
Uncovering your ancestry is really a game of clue more than anything else. You've gotta be a detective, connect the dots, check and double check connections and more. On my fan chart of 16 great great grandparents, I have birth and death dates for almost all of them. Those usually help in some shape or form with finding christening dates and that leads to parents, which is what you're always trying to find. The goal is to extend the tree as far and wide as possible. My personal goal is to chart when all of my ancestors landed in the US because I believe those records are pretty strong. I've gotten back even further to kings and queens, but I think I'd like to get better at research to confirm those connections.
So here's where I'm at now - I'm adding in the info I have - from photographs of my grandparents and their parents, aunts and uncles to birth, christening, marriage and death dates in an attempt to fill in some of those empty branches.
Let me give you an example. My mom's grandma, Eva B. Fisher (pictured, Right) was the daughter of Issac Edward 'Ed' Fisher and Ora C. Miltenberger... but I only had the year of great-great granny O's birth. When a record reads something like '1871-Deceased' under a person's name, i've found that it's usually a dead end. I kept looking around and I uncovered some marriage registrations for her daughters (by searching for documents tied to her husband Isaac 'Ed' Fisher (see tip four below) but the mother of the bride came up as Lea Mittenberg for one but Ora C. Miltenberger on another. Then I found a Ella L. Cripe Miltenberger and wondered if that could somehow be her. What was Eva's mom's maiden name (and it's spelling?) and more importantly, would that lead me to the next generation - my great-great-great grandparents? A lot of old records and hand writing can be hard to decipher, or in some cases, as I believe with the US census takers, just misheard and written down incorrectly.
In this case I had to jump off the genealogy site and just Google it. Bingo. Not only did I find Ora Miltenberger Fisher, but I was able to confirm her husband Ed, daughters (including my great grandma Eva) The site also gave me leads on the names and birth/death years of her parents. I took that info and punched it into FamilySearch, which yielded a match in the system. What was initially a dead end now took me as far back as 1620, including early American colonists! I LOVE WHEN THAT HAPPENS!
I cannot put into words the thrill of making these discoveries. When multiple puzzle pieces add up and open a new doorway to the past - it's just that - thrilling!! Here are my suggestions and what has helped me most as I fill in my tree!
I hope you find tracing your family roots as thrilling as I do! So many of you have watched my Instagram stories that I've posted immediately after making some sort of discovery and have remarked how excited I am. It's true! As I carefully trace each line I hope to share more stories with you here! If you find this information helpful - please pass this page along to anyone who could benefit! And if you see some names in my posts that look familiar - please say hello! I'd love to connect with my extended family!