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What Got You Into Researching Your Family History?

Genealogy isn’t just about digging for facts. It’s about telling stories —¬†our¬†stories. Sometimes curiosity about those stories alone is enough to drive us into researching our family histories. But sometimes it’s more than that — something specific we wanted to learn about ourselves, a particular connection that drove our passion to know more, or maybe even a school assignment that piqued our...

Where Are You Really From?

Growing up, if you asked me what my ancestry was, I would have simply said “German and Irish.” My father’s side of the family was German. My grandfather on that side was a German immigrant after WWII, and my grandmother’s family came to New York from Germany a few generations earlier. My mother’s side of the family was Irish. They looked Irish. They identified as Irish. And they had very Irish...

It’s a Small World After All

Sometimes when conducting family history research, we can come across amazing coincidences, finding that we’re tied to others in ways we never would have expected. This happened to me and one particular colleague and friend. We realized years ago that the two of us (her from Pennsylvania and me originally from New York) had a bit of shared pirate ancestry stemming from Ireland. No biggie. There are plenty of Irish...

When Should You Hire a Professional Genealogist?

I’ve long since hit a dead end researching my family’s history in Germany — my namesake line no less. Family believed most records there were lost when a key town was pretty much destroyed by the Russian military in WWII. The family was forced to leave their home and most of their belongings behind, and on very short notice. Gathering documents just wasn’t a priority. But now there’s hope. If...

The Broken Branch of a Family Tree – Unexpla...

I’ve talked about my issues proving my German citizenship. And I may have figured out a part of the problem. While we know the basic history of my family and their locations, the officials might be struggling to find documents on their end due to a potential name change (not covered in what they actually asked for, which is all I provided). Here’s the gist. I couldn’t find much information about my great...