Friday, June 28, 2013

A Genealogy Wish List

On a recent podcast episode of Genies Down Under, the host Maria Northcote was discussing various ways she keeps herself organized.  One of her suggestions was keeping a master Wish List of genealogy things she wanted to have IF she had a million dollars to spend, such as a list of vital certificates she wanted to order some day.

I thought "what a  really good suggestion", so I've quickly jotted down my own wish list of vital certificates (birth, death and marriage) of my third and fourth generation direct ancestors that I would like to order copies of for myself someday.

These lists are currently in chronological order, from oldest to most recent events.   I'm fairly certain these events would have been memorialized in an official vital certificate or at the very least a county register, especially since Michigan mandated the collection of this vital information starting in 1867.  But if you know of a courthouse fire, or some other such event that destroyed the earlier records I'm looking for, please let me know so I can strike it off my list.

Birth Certificates:
William Charles Volz - Michigan 1881
Alfred Colburn Roberts - Michigan 1881
William Edward Arntz - Michigan 1882
Betsey Lurene French - Michigan 1882
Mabel Ellen Ogle - Canada 1884
Jennie Violet Clark - Michigan 1886
Robert Harold Wood - Michigan 1893
Lottie Belle Minard - Michigan 1893
Fred Aaron Arntz - Michigan 1908
Emerson Harley Wood - Michigan 1912
Ruth M Volz - Michigan 1914
Elsie Marie Roberts - Michigan 1915

Marriage Certificate:
William Arntz & Betsey French - Michigan 1900
Alfred Roberts & Mable Ogle - Michigan 1900
William Volz & Jennie Clark - Michigan 1907
Robert Wood & Lottie Minard - Michigan 1911
Fred Arntz & Elsie Roberts - Michigan 1933
Emerson Wood & Ruth Volz - Michigan 1934
B Blake Soule & Elsie Roberts - Michigan 1973

Death Certificates:
William Edward Arntz - Michigan 1943
Alfred Colburn Roberts - Michigan 1946
Jennie Violet Volz - Illinois 1948
Betsey Lurene Arntz - Michigan 1948
Mabel Ellen Roberts - Michigan 1958
Robert Harold Wood - Michigan 1961
William Charles Volz - Michigan 1966
Lottie Belle Wood - Michigan 1977
Fred Aaron Arntz - Utah  1994
Elsie Marie Soule - Michigan 1995
Emerson Harley Wood - Missouri 2003
Ruth M Wood - Missouri 2003

If I'm lucky (which occasionally happens), perhaps someone reading this blog already has a copy they'd be willing to share with me so that I don't have to wait till I have a million dollars myself. ;o)  In the meantime, I'm willing to split the cost of ordering any of these certificates with my fellow researchers, so please let me know where our two lists meet.

I'm more than happy to help share in the cost of preserving our collective family history.  But let's keep this our little secret.  I'd rather my husband think this hobby (obsession) is only as expensive as buying me a couple reams of printer paper, some pencils and the occasional software upgrade each year. ;o)

Love & Aloha,
~Cuzn Amy

Friday, June 21, 2013

I Will Remember You ...

It is now night and all is silent.  I am here alone and in silence all my past friends with all my relations fall heavy on my mind.  They all are gone, and I too must soon follow.  To be laid in the dust in the silent grave and there to be forever forgotten makes the cold chills run over my whole body.  I have a hope beyond the grave.  That hope is that when I am consigned to my grave, someone on the earth might remember me.
From the Diary of Joseph Kemp, April 1, 1853

I've often been asked why I bother researching my family history.  After all, those people are dead and gone.  What good does it do to dig around in the past? And to some degree, I think I understand where they are coming from.  I can think of a few times in my past that I hope NO ONE remembers, and am grateful that the details fade as the years go by. But I don't ever want to be forgotten.  Everything I do in and with my life is with a hope that I am making a difference, especially in the lives of my children and grandchildren (and someday I hope my great grandchildren know me too). I like to think that my ancestors felt much the same way.

I'm sure they had no idea that future generations would have the ability to gather and collect the stories of the past; they were too busy living their lives and trying to survive.  But I suspect that on quiet nights in front of the wood burning stove, the children where regaled with tales of dear family left behind in the old country, of grandpa's first fist fight as a school boy, or grandma's first cross country train ride all alone to attend nursing school.  And hopefully that story was remembered in enough detail that it was passed around a few more times by those children to their children.

Anyone who knows me can tell you that gathering my family history is more than a hobby; even more than an obsession on most days.  With each passing day, I feel the heavy hands of time trying to erase the past. With the death of each generation before me, those family stories are gone ... FOREVER!

Unless ...

Have you seen the movie, The Lorax?  It's the wonderful story of a young boy who goes in search of a tree ;o) ... and after several days of listening to the Once-ler weave his mournful tale about the destruction of all trees ... The Once-ler says to the young man ... 
"now that you're here, the word of the Lorax seems perfectly clear. UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.” ― Dr. SeussThe Lorax
Did you know that if you could take your family tree back ten generations you would have the names of 1,022 people that you are directly related to?  I was curious about how many of those name I actually knew already.  After a little digging, I calculated that I know roughly 20% of them; with their details getting more vague after the fifth generation.

My current family tree database contains over 9,750 names; and almost every one of those names are related to me or my children in one way or another for more than five generations.  I may not have as tall a tree as other researchers, but mine is <<FAT>>  ... and filled with good people, just trying to do what is honorable and right to the best of their abilities in their lives each day.

Someday I hope to know the names of all 1,022 people in my direct ancestry, but until then I am growing my own tree one story at a time. Perhaps I fancy myself to be like The Lorax, “I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.”  I am trying to preserve the past as a reminder for the future to keep hope alive.

I hope you will continue to join me in this journey.  I sure enjoy having you as my companions on my epic quest to discover "me". ;o)

Love & Aloha,
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