Tracing Your Roots: Courtesy 101

I’ve traced my family for over 30 years. I currently have 8548 people in my family tree, including 16 great great grandparents, 26 third greats, 36 fourth greats, 49 fifth greats and 61 sixth greats – there’s more, but I won’t bore you any further. At one point, part of my tree opens up and the male side dates back to 1190 England, and the female side dates back to 70 B.C. I have family from England, Ireland, France, Scotland, and places so far back, they aren’t even on the map anymore. I am passionate about my records and my new discoveries.

Do you want to know what my BIGGEST pet peeve in the whole world is??

My biggest pet peeve is getting messages and/or emails that say things like: “Please respond and let me know who you are and why you are tracing my family” or “Please transfer my uncles memorial page to me because he is my family” or “Thank you for posting headstone photos of my family.”

Yeah. My My My My. Let’s make it clear. If you have ancestors, you are probably not the only one in your family tree. The above comments need responses from me including, “I am tracing my husband’s family, not yours”, “The man is also MY uncle”, and “I drove 14 hours one-way to visit that cemetery and posted headstone photos of MY family, not yours, but you are welcome, I guess.”

One of my biggest pleasures is finding distant cousins all over the world, but not when those cousins send rude emails.

I’m currently working on a book about a cousin who was an orphan. My third great grandmother raised her deceased brother’s five orphans for a while. One of the orphans has a great story, so I’m writing a book about her. She lost her parents at the age of nine in 1862 in Mississippi. She is found in the 1870 census living with her other aunt in Alabama, and found in the 1880 census living back in Mississippi. She is then found in 1890 in Texas, married with an infant daughter, and died that very same year at the age of 36. My questions were, “Why did she go back to MS? and “How did she end up in TX?”  I did find the answers to my questions, but still wanted more information. Through some family searching (emails to a cousin of a cousin of a cousin), I ended up on the phone with the infant daughter’s GRANDDAUGHTER, who is 73 years old and living in Abilene, TX. She told me all about her family and her grandmother, but she did not know anything about her orphaned great grandmother or the family line before that, so we filled in a lot of family history for each other. She emailed me a photo of the orphan and a four-page hand-written letter from the orphan to her brother, dated July 1890, a month before she died. And I emailed her stories of the family along with a photo of the orphans grandfather, her THIRD great grandfather whom she never knew existed.  It was amazing. We are cousins connected 150 years ago. Wow!

So, lesson to be learned:

If you contact someone about their family research, do not say “MY family,” because if they are researching and have records, it is more than likely their family also, and you never want to be rude to your cousins.

Class dismissed.

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2 responses to “Tracing Your Roots: Courtesy 101

  1. This is so cool. I love family stuff! I have a limited family tree back to the about 1748 but I want to grow it even more and expand on cousins, etc. I love this kind of stuff and find it fascinating!

  2. 1748 is still a long way back even if your info is currently limited. When you start traveling to visit Archive and History Departments and cemeteries and churches, then you know you’re hooked for good. I recently fell in love with the late 1800s/early 1900s, because thanks to the internet, there are so many pictures available of PEOPLE! Yay! Good luck on your research. It takes over your life. Food, sleep, who needs it?

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