I started working on my genealogy around 1976 while in elementary
school. It was the bicentennial and my grandmother, Mimi (Marie
Elizabeth FORD), was telling me that we had a Revolutionary War
patriot in our tree, Captain Samuel Lockwood of Greenwich. She
eventually admitted she was descended from him twice
as her grandparents were third cousins,
documented on some paperwork she had never sent to the DAR (Daughters
of the American Revolution)!
ten years old, having a revolutionary war patriot and later
learning a secret of distant
cousins getting married, I
a book called “Digging for My Roots” by
Michael Scheier and Julie Frankel at
the Scholastic Book Fair
at my school. I also bought
“Finding Your Roots”
by Jeane Eddy Westin and
“How to Trace Your Family History” by Bill R. Linder
from a local book store. These books taught me how to record
information and I started
designing my own pedigree chart and family group sheet templates that
my parents dutifully photocopied at their respective workplaces.
was my first foray into genealogy. I was copying, re-copying, and
re-copying again information from a published genealogy and family
bible that Mimi kept in
their apartment while
sitting at their dining room table (which now sits in my dining
collected some information from Poppy (William Henry JONES, Jr.) on
his parents and cousins on his mother’s side (he didn’t like
talking about his father’s extended family). I
received a descendant chart
from Grandma (Margaret
Josephine GLINKA) on her siblings
and all their children and grandchildren.
I had almost nothing on my
other grandfather (John Floyd LOCKE) who had died the year before I
was born. To be honest, the sheer volume of information on Mimi’s
family which reached
to the founding of Stamford and Greenwich in the Colony of
Connecticut was overwhelming.
the 1980’s, I got my first personal computer and started using
Personal Ancestral File to re-copy all
information yet again. This
was my second journey
into my family history. I quickly moved from Personal Ancestral File
to Commsoft’s Roots III and IV, but college and early work life
stalled my endeavors.
the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, I found myself traveling for
work almost constantly. Four
things had changed in my genealogical life.
My software was defunct; I had learned I needed to “source” my
data; ancestry.com had census images online;
I now had
children to pass this along to.
I installed Wholly Genes’ The Master Genealogist on my laptop and
began my third attempt at genealogy.
years found me frantically searching for new records. Organization
was something I would take care of later. I had numerous
breakthroughs and stories I was discovering. I traced Grandpa back to
early colonial New Hampshire. I connected to the Palatine Germans
that arrived in 1709/10.
I found the origin of my northern Irish roots. Some
of these breakthroughs were found online, but many were found by
visiting repositories throughout the northeast. I
was even volunteering
for local genealogical societies (or
perhaps I should admit to over-volunteering).
genealogical life had reams and reams of paper and two full size
bookshelves surrounding me in my basement office. I was suffocating.
I had stopped traveling and my work life was in
that same basement office. The mountain of my genealogical research
made it easier to simply turn my chair to work all the time. I
was putting all my
“genealogical time” into
was making little to no
progress on my personal genealogy. I
took a hiatus from genealogy for most of five years.
brings me to
the launch of my fourth expedition
into genealogy. It actually began by attending the fifteenth New
England Regional Genealogical Conference in Manchester, NH,
April 3-6, 2019.
I focused on sessions that talked about organization, digitization,
techniques. But honestly, the best part of attending that conference
was hearing the speakers and other genealogists tell me I wasn’t
alone. That many of us procrastinate and run down the rabbit holes of
collecting sources and data without managing what we collect. But
there are strategies that I learned. Some from the official syllabus
materials, but also by talking to fellow
attendees and the wonderful
speakers who always enjoyed sharing their knowledge and experience
even after their lecture was done.
So, a few months after that conference and to keep me honest, I am
starting this blog to accomplish several things:
Define a schedule of progress by regularly creating new posts here.
Break off manageable pieces of the mountain of research I have collected.
Share the tips and tricks I am trying to put into practice – the successes, failures, and missteps.
I do believe most importantly, this blog will allow me to share
the stories I have discovered with my family (and others) as I wade
through and bring that
mountain down to size. Wish me luck on this next step in my
About The Author
Experienced amateur genealogist and professional technologist