For the past 15 or more years, I have been tracing our family trees. After we became grandparents, I became even more determined to gather as much family history as I could so I could pass it on to our grandchildren. Now, with the passing of their great-grandmother, I’m so very glad I did.

As a young granddaughter, myself, it never occurred to me to ask my grandmother about her life beyond what she offered. I never knew her parents had together almost 24 siblings and now it is almost impossible to trace their descendants.

It has been an exciting trip through time and history. To find an ancestor long forgotten and place him or her within an historical time period brings so much more meaning to the past. My family tree discoveries had even helped our children connect to what they had been learning in their social studies classes.

With most of my blood relatives deceased, except for one second cousin, I have had to rely mostly on Internet sources. Each time I thought I had come up against a “brick wall”, I would take time off from my search…until the next summer when I was on vacation. Then I would pick up where I left off and to my surprise I would find another clue or fact or document leading me further into the past.

The reason I would be successful at each time I would start again is because there are so many databases being added to those already in existence. Hobbyist and professional genealogists have all been very generous in sharing their findings along the way.

Genealogy can become very addicting, although frustrating at times, also very rewarding.  A few summers ago, I was searching for my paternal gr-grandfather in Hoboken. I knew my grandparents and children lived there but I just couldn’t find them in the census. Then a very distant cousin (whom I found through a genealogy forum online) gave me the idea that perhaps the last name had been misspelled. So I tried many versions and ta da! There they were!  I also found what street they had lived on, birth dates and occupations.

Often times, a search of census pages before and after your ancestors’ page may lead you to finding other relatives. That was an exciting moment when I tried that for my husband’s ancestors and found some in-laws.

Here is a poem I found online, but even though this could very well happen, I’ve had a lot of success using a few sites online. The majority of my finds has been with the help of They have many, many databases to draw from. I’ve even been able to save and print copies of military documents from the past. For the history buff, this is a great place to visit. You can try an Free Trial for 14 days. I suggest you give it a try…but be careful, I warned you, it can be addicting!

I will be posting more helpful tips from time to time to help you find your ancestors, but in the meantime enjoy this poem!

Tracing My Tree

I started out calmly, tracing my tree,
To find if I could find the makings of me.
And all that I had was Great-grandfather’s name,
not knowing his wife or from where he came.
I chased him across a long line of states,
And came up with pages and pages of dates.
When all put together, it made me forlorn,
Proved poor Great-grandpa had never been born.
One day I was sure the truth I had found,
Determined to turn this whole thing upside down.
I looked up the record of one Uncle John,
But then I found the old man to be younger than his son.
Then when my hopes were fast growing dim,
I came across records that must have been him.
The facts I collected made me quite sad,
Dear old Great grandfather was never a Dad.
I think someone is pulling my leg,
I am not at all sure I wasn’t hatched from an egg.
After hundreds of dollars I’ve spent on my tree,
I can’t help but wonder if I’m really me..

Found on Roots-l

Family Tree Maker 2008