I have been doing genealogy for 40 years, since 1977. At that time there was no Ancestry.com.
I went to the Mormon Family History Library in West Los Angeles to do my research.
There, on microfilm, were records of the Jews in Poland, including my great- grandfather. I photocopied 100 of those records, spread them out on the floor, and discovered who were my ancestors back to my great-great-great-great-great grandfather.
Beginning in about 2007, and for the next four years, I did genealogical workups for 50 of my acquaintances.
It was lots of fun, exciting when I found a “hidden” record, satisfying in an other-worldly way.
I felt connected to the people I located, and I consequently felt more connected to God.
From 2011 to the present, I put genealogy on the side and concentrated on other hobbies.
Last month I sent for the 23andMe kit, which told me about my heritage and about my genetic predispositions. That must have sparked my interest in returning to Ancestry. A week ago, I paid $20 for a month’s subscription to Ancestry.com.
I felt rusty with my genealogy skills when I asked a tablemate of my mother if I could do her genealogy.
She agreed, and a week later I handed her a three-page report, a family chart, and some 18 documents.
I was back in the groove.
I knew this was true because I was able, in a very short time, to locate records that were not easy to find. My next question to myself was, “What next?”
The decision came quickly. It was time to work on my own family tree once again. I am excited about finding new records that Ancestry has posted in the past several years.
I began this week by beginning to organize what records and documents I have on 500 of the closer family members on my 2300-member tree.
I am excited to learn about the many new research options, and about the many new records Ancestry has acquired in the past six years.
I have begun to affix photos of my great-grandparents to the tree. Soon I will save to Ancestry the many documents I have written about my relatives, the many letters I have received over the years from relatives, and some voice recordings from telephone conversations I had with relatives.
Those photos, documents and other records hopefully will last for generations to come.
In a way, I feel as if I am turning a page in my life. I am going from being a family hoarder of sorts, to a family saver.
When I am finished entering all my records into Ancestry, anyone who is searching my family will be able to see much more about the lives of their relatives.
And, some very lucky searchers will find a treasure chest of photos, voice recordings and letters as well as documents.
Mr. Ebsen may be contacted at email@example.com