My interest in my family’s past began when I was nine. I recall looking through old photos with my grandfather in California. He would tell me about each and every person in the album. Sadly I can’t remember many of his stories, but this is where it all began for me.
I began researching two years after the birth of my twins. In the mid 90’s the Census was not available via the internet and other online repositories were almost non-existent. Their were far fewer Indexes to the census even available. For me it was usually one Saturday a month where I would sneak off to the quiet of the Special Collections, a trip to a cemetery, or just a day spent with a microfilm reader and census tapes.
Things have changed quite a bit, more and more records are made available via the internet daily. Ancestry.com has indexed many if not all of the US Federal Census and has scanned the actual documents (Along with quite a few other records), but it comes with a price tag. The Church of Jesus Christ Church of Latter Day Saints has started this same process, but provides the records free of charge. You can even volunteer to help index.
My initial line that I started with was that of my paternal grandmother. I felt it would be the easiest to research, boy was I wrong! It seemed logical – my grandmother was still alive, her surname was uncommon, and my dad still lived next door to where my great-grandparents resided. Ironically this has been my most difficult family to track down. I always go back to it, but I have hit a “brick wall” with that family. Luckily there are plenty of other ancestors to research.
In the past 16 years I have attended many seminars, investigated multiple repositories, and built a knowledge base around New Jersey genealogy. I am a subscriber of many online repositories and have a small library of New Jersey resources at home. I have also conducted research in the New England, and Italy (via the local family history center)
I am a member of the following organizations:
Association of Professional Genealogists
National Genealogical Society
New Jersey Genealogical Society
Hunterdon County Historical Society – I volunteer frequently at the library and Archives
New England Historical Genealogical Society
My current personal projects is my application to Daughter’s of the American Revolution. With my twins heading of to college I was sure I’d have that thing sent off in no time, but I’ve been also busy fulfilling client requests. Hopefully I will send it shortly.