I am very fortunate in that my family has passed a lot of information on to me. However, I'm beginning to find that family history does not always concur with what the official records report. For example, I remember hearing that my maternal great-grandfather was born in England. Maybe he was, but I have found that the US Census rolls for both 1900 and 1920 say Halstead was born in Pennsylvania—HIS father was born in England!
I may never be able to track down the actual facts. I'm not alone in this. Many others face this same dilemma. I find, though, that as I continue to search, I develop my intuitive sense of what is probably the real truth, and how to look for clues.
A word of caution before you use any part of this tree for your own research. As far as I know, my family is no relation to the ancient Amses family of the Netherlands. When my grandfather's family came through Ellis Island from Lithuania, the family name experienced the same fate suffered by many others; somehow, Amczis became Amses. Life has a certain irony, though. It could be that some time in the past, an Amses left Holland, traveled to Lithuania, and became Amczis. Who knows? But, life is an adventure—an exploration of how we came to be what we are.
I'd like to give a special nod of thanks to the research assistants of the LDS Family History Center in Oakland, California, who helped me get a start on my family research. Kudos, too, to the Ellis Island Research site. This site supplied the only relevant Amses family information I've been able to find on the Internet.
Here's hoping that all our own mental journeys back in time are as exciting and fruitful as our ancestors' journeys to their new lives!