Sunday, October 18, 2015

Vacation and Family History in Washington, DC

My husband and I returned from our fall vacation in Washington, DC a couple of weeks ago. And I'm still processing the photos and the tidbits of family history I and a cousin discovered. It was my first time meeting my cousin in person, and it was just as if we'd known each other our entire lives.

My third great grandfather moved into the Washington, DC/Georgetown, MD area sometime between 1800 and 1810. He's found in the 1810 Georgetown, MD census. We know that he had a bakery and confectionery shop in Georgetown in 1817 thanks to a newspaper ad I found on Chronicling America.

Walking down the streets near where he had his shop in 1817 Georgetown gave me a sense of belonging. He had walked on or near the same streets, as had his son, my great great grandfather. I know that they saw a completely different view than the one I saw, but some of the buildings were there when my third great grandfather walked that area.

My poor husband knows that we'll be going back to Washington, DC and to Georgetown in a few years. I have more digging to do to uproot new records on my third great grandfather and his family. I'll continue my search for more documentation of his stay in the area, when and where he died, and where he is buried.

Happy digging!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Me, DNA, and Thee

In mid-August, Ancestry had a special on their DNA testing kits. I ordered one, deposited my saliva, sealed, shook and dropped it in the pouch, then sealed the pouch and took it to the post office. And then I waited impatiently for my results.

I confess that I didn't warn my husband. He's not into family history or any history for that matter. In his eyes, history is nothing more than boring dates and facts to be memorized for a test, then forgotten. I, on the other hand, love history. For me, it's alive and brimming with life lessons and interesting tidbits and facts I can use in my own life.

So, about a month after I dropped off my saliva filled DNA kit at the post office, we're on our way to Washington, DC for our vacation. My husband has agreed that I can have half a day to meet with my cousin and do some family history research in Georgetown.

He's driving on I-95. My phone vibrates with an e-mail alert. I check it and burst into delighted cheers. My Ancestry DNA results are ready!

I wasn't surprised by most of the results. I expected a sizable amount of my DNA to be from Great Britain, Ireland, and Western Europe, and I was not surprised. The Scandinavian result confused me until I remembered that one of my great great grandmothers was of Scandinavian descent.

Now that I've confirmed that I'm a Heinz 57 mutt as my Dad used to say, I hope that my DNA results will help me solve a few family mysteries. I have three dead ends on my tree. I hope DNA will help me find the branches to add to those dead ends.

I need to learn how to interpret my results and how to use them to find cousins, then how to determine how those new cousins and I are related.

I can't wait to meet new cousins and friends these DNA results will bring my way.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Back to Uprooting The Family Tree

Starting a new business can take a toll on the rest of your life. Unfortunately, that can include delaying any work on the family history, or helping anyone else research their family history.

Fortunately, the business is thriving and I can once again delve into family history research. I'm so excited! I have so many questions about my ancestors, where they lived, what they did and who they were.

I'm visiting Washington, DC this fall and am so happy that my husband has agreed that I can do some family history research while we're there. Yahoo! I get four hours of concentrated research time. He's not into family history, or any history for that matter, so this is a huge gift from him to me.

My third great grandfather was a baker in the Washington, DC area between about 1810 and 1840. I found a newspaper article which gave the location of his bakery. Digging through a few old maps and a guide to the street name changes in the area and I located where his bakery used to be! I can't wait to stand in the area and take photos to share with my family. I know it won't look like it did when he was there, but I can imagine. There is just something magical about standing where you know one or more of your ancestors stood.

I have a great article from the wonderful folks at Family History Daily to share with you today. Do you have old family photos that you'd like to date or maybe even identify the people in those photos? They have a suggestion that might help you out! Read more here:

I'm off to uproot some more information from my family tree. Happy digging, y'all!