|Who am I? Where did I come from? Are we there yet?|
What parent has not heard one, or all , of these questions from their children?
We are a product of all of those that came before us and their experiences and values they gained as they went through life. Life experiences, both good and bad, and values are passed down to us by our ancestors and help to define who we are today. This collection of experiences and values are tools we place in our “toolbox”, to be used and added to as we travel on our life’s journey.
Are we there yet? NO! All the tools provided us by our ancestors we pass on to our own children to be improved upon by them. Each generation is but a way station on the road of life for mankind. The goal of anyone researching their family history should be to help define who they are and where they came from in order to aid succeeding generations on the road to “there”.
I have always been curious about my own family history. Partly because of the uniqueness of my own surname. When I was in high school, I would go to the local public library and look through phone books from around the country for anyone that shared my last name. In later years I made attempts at building a family tree, only to be met with varying degrees of poor success. I always seemed to reach the same dead ends.
In late 2003, I started once again on my quest to unlock my family history. What I have been able to piece together in the short time since is astounding. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would find this amount of information.
I must admit that these efforts would have been fruitless if it were not for the vast amount of information available on the Internet. The advent of the Internet and the enormous volumes of information available through this medium have made family history research easier and less costly. To find recent pictures of villages in Transylvania where my mother’s maternal grandparents grew up was amazing. No less amazing was finding stories and biographical sketches of ancestors previously unknown to my parents and myself. The existence of a family cemetery on my mother’s father’s side in the mountains of eastern West Virginia was but another of my many “finds”.
The huge on-line databases of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Ellis Island database, numerous on-line family trees, and the census indexes of HeritageQuest Online have been valuable resources. The hours of research done by those persons that have posted their own family histories on the Internet for all to use, is deeply appreciated. Foremost among those I wish to personally thank are, Darlene Dicato for her research on the Rienerth family roots and providing the clue that led to the Foremans of Clinton County Ohio, George Woolley for the vast amount of research and time it took putting together the Woolley family history, and all those who have researched descendents of Robert Forman of Long Island (b. 1605). Without access to their fruits of their labors, I would still be spinning my wheels at the level of my great-grandparents.
In assembling this family history, I have attempted to update place names to reflect the geopolitical subdivisions as they currently appear on the map of the world. As with every rule, there are exceptions. I have continued to refer to the area around the Carpathian Mountains in present day Romania as Transylvania, and the cities, towns, and villages in that area by their German names. Updating locations to those recognizable on today's maps is not always possible. Information I located did not always provide enough information to accurately update the location. In the case of Virginia and West Virginia, many areas listed as being in one state may, in fact, be in the other. Where sources disagreed, I used preponderance of the evidence and what appeared to be the most probable in determining which data to include.