Birthday reflections

I woke up this morning to my six year old wishing me a Happy Birthday and demanding I find his DS, all in one breath. I thanked him, and shooed him out of the room.

Shortly thereafter, I received a phone call from some guy trying to sell me adspace on Google. Said he was looking for a professional genealogist to feature on the front page, and was thrilled to have found one in Oregon. I didn’t buy, but it was kinda neat to know that, somehow, people are finding me. And it got me to thinking, as I start on my 33rd year, what have I accomplished thus far in my chosen field, as well as in my personal research, and what are my goals for this next year?

Among my professional accomplishment I can list that I have established myself as an “Expert” with I have started the National Genealogical Society’s Home Study Course, and completed their course on Special Census Schedules. Most incredible to me is that I have actually gotten paid to do what I love!

In my personal research, I have found new online sources of information. I have downloaded birth, death and marriage certificates for numerous family members. I have connected with living cousins half-way across the country. Who knew I had something like 50 cousins in Michigan? I daily thank the powers that be for Facebook, which has allowed me to connect with these wonderful relatives I never knew about.

I have also begun to fill in the gaps. After years of collecting vitals and census records, I find my research is really starting to turn towards filling in their lives. I want to know what my great-grandparents were like before there is no-one left to tell me. Why did my 3Gt-Grandfather move his family from Wisconsin, through Minnesota, to Independence Oregon in 1902? What was life like in Carl Junction, Missouri when my grandmother was a kid? How did my ancestors feel when they hopped on that boat in Norway, bound for America? What about the ones who came from Sweden two generations later?

Some of these questions are easier to answer than others. I am blessed that I can still ask my grandmothers about their childhood and get amazing answers. I no longer have my grandfather to question, but I have connected with his younger brother. And I’ve got the oodles of cousins I mentioned earlier.

Looking forward, I have a pretty clear idea of my goals. I’d like my genealogy business to become profitable. I’m going to finish the NGS Home Study Course. And then, perhaps, I will go for my certification. Or maybe I will go for a degree in Genealogy. I love to learn. I love to study. I love to research.

I have a burning need inside of me to know where and who I came from. I can’t possibly be the only one who feels this way, and I love to help others find answers. It rekindles my love for genealogy every time I do research for someone and find them what they were looking for. It always leads to more questions, but that’s fine. The research is the fun part for me. Being able to dig through mountains of paperwork to find that one document with your gt-gt-grandmother’s name on it. Walking through an old cemetery to find an ancestor buried a hundred years ago, and knowing that your ancestors stood in that very spot, looking at the same tombstone you are.

What an amazing ride it’s been. And this year looks more promising than ever. So here’s my birthday wish for you. May you break down your brick walls, identify that mystery picture, and connect with that cousin that has the answer. May your research be fulfilling, even when it is not productive. And may your ancestors smile kindly upon you, always.

Published in: on September 2, 2010 at 8:27 am  Comments (2)  

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday

Fred Jr, Jean and Jerry Greybill

l to r: Jean, Jerry, and Fred Greybill Jr

On the far right is my grandfather, Fred Staunton Greybill, Jr. The girl on the left is his sister Jean Gathalea Greybill, and the boy in front is their youngest brother Gerald Lee Greybill. There was almost 19 years between Fred and Jerry. This picture was taken in front of their house on Randolph Street in Charleston, West Virginia. I believe it was taken shortly after their mother died in 1944.

Published in: on September 1, 2010 at 9:35 am  Leave a Comment  
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