Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A Family History Journal

Nearly three years ago, in August 2010, I began researching my Italian great-grandfather. I never met him. I didn't know his story of how he came to the United States. To be honest, I'd never seen a photo of him.

That project unearthed a remarkable journey: A 19-year-old kid sailed to a new country with only $10 to his name. He didn't speak English, yet he was able to land a job and start a new life for himself.

While my grandfather's story wasn't particularly unique, it did ignite an insatiable interest in family history. I wanted to learn the other forgotten stories. I quickly developed a love for researching my ancestors and the hunt for the documents that yielded those names and brought them back to life.

I enjoy thinking critically about the historical context that shaped my ancestors' lives, and sometimes affects whether or not I'll be able to locate a birth, marriage or death record that will allow me to climb another branch of the family tree.

I've always had an interest in history. However, there's something compelling about placing your own kin in their historical place and rediscovering people the world has long forgotten. It has captivated me and sparked an addiction to genealogy.

I've read and follow several genealogy-themed blogs, and they've proved to be great resources in motivating and advancing my own efforts. My journal exists for selfish reasons. I aim to use this as a space to dialogue my own research questions and brick walls. Perhaps I'll be fortunate and score assistance from the crowd in solving some of my own family mysteries.

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