By Ed Hale
How many times have you thought to yourself that, today, or even this weekend, you are going to find out more of your family history and genealogy. What holds you back? With very inexpensive web sites and even free web sites on many computers, you are just a key stroke away from discovery. Of course there are fears that there are skeletons in the genealogy closet so don’t open the door, you think to yourself.
The fact is, perhaps there may be a skeleton in the closet, but, it also sits among the vast riches of your family history and your genealogical path back in time. Discovery! Who were my ancestors? How did I get here? What can this genealogical history teach me about myself and my ancestry? Become an intrepid voyager back in time!
More than ever before, just sitting at a computer with an “internet search engine” Google for example, and typing in a no longer living great grand-parent’s full name and his wife’s name, and date of birth if you have it, or even a year that they lived in a town, is all you need to start collecting information that is free.
Web sites that deal in your ancestry are helpful. They are a big help in providing solid leads with Census data, war records, marriage records, and the like. I purchased a software package and was so glad that I did. I have been using one for years and have well over 1,500 family records. If you like history then genealogy is a path to that history and your family is in it.
My Puritan family namesake emigrated from London, England, to the Massachusetts Bay Colony as shareholders in the Newbury Plantation, in the year 1637, aboard the, then, new 250 ton merchant ship Hector. The crossing was 6 weeks full of fear of the unknown and of stormy seas, and landed in Boston Harbor on the 26th of June. What of their commitment? It is a life and death struggle, children in tow, with hope for a bright future and escape from Civil War in England that pushes them to endure the journey a mere 375 years ago.
But it took more than one website to provide that information. The discovery of it was monumental! Along the way there were documents and letters written to folks in high places and were captured in genealogical books that I could read aloud to my grand-kids and send to my relatives. How neat is that! A sense of belonging, of wholeness, and of the struggle for life and a successful future is revealed often in genealogical research. Give it a try; you will be glad you did.
(Editor’s Note: Ed Hale resides in Plaistow, with hs family. He is a lifelong genealogy enthusiast. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org).