by Ronnie Tyler
I found my Great Great Great Grandparents in Salt Lake City, Utah. Yes that’s right. Yesterday I found Ogdon and Mary Lawson and I was so happy when I found them that I gave Vicki a big hug. You see, Vicki is a consultant at the Family History Library here in Salt Lake City, Utah.
She gave me a tour of the library which is the largest one of its kind in the world and then she sat down with me for about an hour to help me conduct a search. And can you believe it”...in 30 minutes she helped me find my great, great, great grandparents using tools such as FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com. I can’t tell you how it felt to actually see their names on the 1880 census. It made we want to know more of their story.
To be honest, I have never been interested in family history like this. When I was small, I grew up around a lot of extended family (aunts, grandparents, great grandparents, great aunts, cousins.) We lived in a small community in Isle of Wight County, VA where literally everyone within a 1 or 2 mile radius of me was a relative. But my parents, like most of my aunts and uncles, moved away from Isle of Wight. And then I (like most of my cousins) moved even further away.
So my kids are not growing up around family. They only get to see our extended family during family reunions. During our reunions, my aunt normally reads information about our family history. And I don’t even think I was half listening the last time she did that. And I know my kids were not paying attention.
But after being here is Salt Lake City this week, I have found a much deeper appreciation for knowing my family history. And now I really have a great appreciation for what my mom is trying to do with our kids. She is always trying to take them to Isle of Wight County to visit the places where she grew up, to visit the cemetery to see the headstones of our family, and to visit relatives that are still living in the area. The next time she organizes a trip like that, I am going to be more supportive and excited about going.
I am also going to be more conscious about sharing my family history with my kids. I can do that by sharing stories of my childhood with them”.....about where I grew up and about my grandparents and cousins.
I have learned so much in this week at the RootsTech.org conference. Searching for your family history does not have to be such a daunting task. And you don’t have to do it alone as there are so many tools and people that can help you. Here are 10 things I learned at the conference that could help you with your search:
Over the next few months we’ve decided to make family history a priority here on Blackandmarriedwithkids.com. We’ll be rolling out campaigns and efforts to get all of you involved in researching your history and we’ll do it as a group so that we each have a built-in support mechanism. We’ll report back here with our findings in hopes of encouraging even more to dig up the past in hopes of paving the way for better futures.
Stay tuned for more on this initiative and what I know will be exciting times ahead.