14 October 2009

The Thrill of the Hunt

One of the best things about genealogy has got to be the excitement of finding an unknown ancestor. I know when I made my first discovery that gave me the name of my Great-grandpa’s father I was thrilled. Before this, none of my family members could tell me anything. The oldest family members on that branch were an uncle and aunt. The aunt had Alzheimers and would say anything I wanted to hear. My uncle, the oldest sibling, was unable to do much better.

However, once I came up with a name, the uncle opened up with pictures of his own. Although he only knew this ancestor as “the Old Gent,” which was what my great-grandfather called him, he was able to tell me a little, including where he was buried.

Now GGGrandpa Armenus is my pride and joy. He was not only my first discovery, but also my first confirmed Civil War vet. Through his name I was able to contact distant cousins who generously shared more information and pictures.

It was exciting to make this first step and start learning about this whole branch of ancestors and put names, and occasionally faces to them. A young girl captured by Indians and later ransomed, who married and then ran off with another man—who was my ancestor. A young man who bravely served in the Spanish-American war and later was killed in France at the end of World War I. The 3 successive generations who lived to be 90, and the families who lost small children.

My family.

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