Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Just Found Some New Ancestors...

... more German emigrants. I'm starting to think I'm more German than anything else. Although I'm still pretty Scottish.

Christopher Heydrich and his two brothers came from Germany on the ship Robert and Alice (or Robert and Oliver, depending on the source) in 1738. Nif-teeeee.

In this e-book about the Hetrick family, Christopher's signature can be seen and a little more background is given about his family and the circumstances which may have brought him and his brothers to America.

This search started last week when Michelle and I were cemetery-geeking and we found some Hetricks buried in our cemetery. I looked them up in the census and in the Ancestry family trees - not the most reliable source, but a place to start - and sure enough, the Hetricks in the cemetery are related to me. Probably. I feel good about having just cleaned up their headstones (here's one picture).

Other German names in my family tree:
Schneeweiss (who took on the Swedish name Kyn, which became Keen)

All but Schneeweiss and Heydrick/Hetrick are on my dad's side. It's been fun to find that my mother is part German as well. Here we thought she was all U.K.

Have you ever considered how unique we all are? That if one name changed on your family tree, you'd be a completely different person? It's that exact combination of ancestors and DNA that makes you who you are. The only people you share that with are your siblings, and even they are made of a slightly different combination of those same genes. Without sounding too cheesy - it's mind-blowing to me, how very special we are, how no two people on this earth have ever been or ever will be exactly alike.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Graving: The Next Generation

For a long time I've thought that all those trips we took to the cemetery when I was a child must have done something to my psyche (either that, or I was just a "dead people geek" waiting to happen). My dear friend Sariah better watch out.

Michelle and I went graving again today and Sariah joined us for the first time. Sariah's two daughters and niece got in on the action. The girls had a fun time using the "big girl" gardening tools, squirting water on the headstones, and using the scrub brushes to remove algae and "bird sign" (I'm not kidding - they really did). A great time was had by all. Check out her cute pictures.

With three adults and two children helping clean and photograph headstones, we took almost 50 pictures, and will probably post around 75 memorials on Findagrave.com this week. It's very rewarding work and hopefully, someone who's looking in our cemetery for their relatives will be helped by what we've been doing.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

So Close... and Yet So Far Away

I am dying here. Major, major frustration.

The Family History Center staff members in my area have been encouraged by our stake FHC directors to try to register for the new Familysearch.org. Other staff members have had success, so it's been exciting. I've been trying for weeks - entering the necessary information, clicking "Send" and hoping - only to be told that "New Familysearch.org is not available in my area." Well, yeah, or I'd be using it by now... *murmur murmur*...

Today, I received an email from support@familysearch.org. You know, the actual people who TELL you when new Familysearch is coming to your area. The people in charge. "In about four months, New Familysearch is coming to an Internet-connected computer near you," they announced. "Here's your material - get learning this stuff so you can teach it to others in your area," they instructed. "You should be able to register immediately upon receipt of this email," they joyfully expounded.

Cruel, cruel, cruel... this has turned out to be a fabrication.

I have emailed. I have called. I have been told to wait 72 hours. ROWRRRRRRR!!! *snarling*

It reminds me of the time I ordered that beautiful Wendy's salad, put it on my dashboard so I could stash something in my purse, and my husband took off uphill at lightning speed and my beautiful salad flew off the dashboard and spilled all over me, my clothes, my socks, my shoes and the floor of the car. I was heartbroken. "We can order you another one," he said.

I don't want another one!!!! I wanted this one! NOW!!!

On a completely different topic, I believe one of my missions here on earth might be... going out on a limb here... to learn patience.

For the uninitiated: New Familysearch is the Church's latest genealogical development - a way to consolidate all our family information in Ancestral File, Pedigree Resource File, the IGI, and myriad other databases that people have sent in over the years. We can squish our ancestors together so they're only in there once. We can do TempleReady FROM HOME (this is huge). We can communicate and solve problems with misinformation. I've been hearing about this for probably over a year. I've been looking forward to using it myself for months. I actually did get to use it at the FHC, using my stake FHC director's username and password (she let me). I'm absolutely beside myself that I still can't get to it. So there you have it - now you know what the big deal is.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Setting Up a Family Blog

Several of my cousins and I have set up family blogs and enjoy reading about each other's lives, seeing and sharing each other's pictures, and adding to each other's memories of our childhood days together.

Where we cousins once relied on parents or grandparents to keep us caught up on everyone in the family, Candace, Dena, Rachael, Whitney and I have fun communicating with each other on a technological level. Everyone is so busy and lives so far apart now that letter-writing, phone calls, and even individual emails can "take too long." These family relationships are put on the back burner in favor of other, more urgent, but not more important things.

One great benefit of a family blog is sharing family pictures. Those photographs of family reunions, visits, and car trips of long ago - the ones that were scattered around to the different relatives - can be swapped and copied and preserved. Candace and I have enjoyed seeing pictures of ourselves together as children, and of older relatives who have since passed on. While getting together to swap pictures and have copies made isn't a bad thing, she and I are both busy moms and don't live in the same town, so this online picture swap really works for us - and it's my favorite price, FREE.

As a result of our blogs, we cousins have closer ties and have much more to talk about when we do get together in person. I would definitely recommend setting up a family blog, and bugging your family members to do the same.