Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Tip From Randy Leads to Interesting Ancestral Stories

I read with great interest Randy Seaver's Genea-Musings post on September 20th about how MyHeritage's new record match feature was assisting him in locating the Find-A-Grave memorial pages for many of the people he has listed in his genealogy database. Please read Randy's post for the details on how he successfully used the records match process.

Like Randy and many genealogy colleagues, I have used Find-A-Grave frequently over the years to find burial information about ancestors. But, having about 12,700 ancestors in my genealogy database covering both my family and my wife Ellen's family, searching individually for every ancestor on Find-A-Grave was too exhaustive a process to undertake. However, having taken advantage of a recent MyHeritage subscription offer (which for disclosure purposes I paid for myself), I thought it would be interesting to see what kind of Find-A-Grave records matches My Heritage could offer me.

MyHeritage indicated that it had found 201 records matches in Find-A-Grave with individuals in my family tree. MyHeritage based this on a older version that I had uploaded to the site last year. I have since uploaded a more current version of my family tree information, one in which some branches have been pruned while other branches have grown. 

All but a very few, likely less than five, were valid matches that I confirmed after first extracting information from the Find-A-Grave memorial pages.

What interested me the most though was some of the biographical information about a number of our family ancestors that I wasn't aware of. Over the years of conducting family history research, I have always felt that every person in our family tree has a story to tell and one of my chief goals was to discover and hopefully tell the ancestor's story. 

I take pride in our family ancestor's as it is through their efforts, trials and tribulations, successes and achievements that my family is enjoying our current comforts. Not all of my ancestors made the right decisions all of the time, some made huge mistakes but they sure seem to have done what they thought was the absolute best for themselves and their families at the time. Their decisions, sometimes difficult to understand in a current context, were right for them in their current context. Those decisions ultimately guided the family, and me, to where we are today.

In the next few posts, I will share some of the stories of these ancestors that I found to be particularly interesting when I found out about them through their Find-A-Grave memorial pages.  Often, these are ancestors that are on family tree branches that are not close to my more direct ancestors whom I tend to focus on, but they are still family.



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