Working on the personal Family Tree for myself has been an amazing journey already. I have been learning how to research and trying to put the new knowledge into practice, off and on, for about 8 years now. Some times I am able to work for only a very short period of time before putting everything away. In some cases, many months have passed with nothing new being discovered or added. Then, I will get a whirlwind of energy and spend hours at a time searching for material pertaining to my family.
One event that probably gave me the most motivation to begin this huge project was my immediate family's vacation to visit a Horst cousin in Chambersburg, PA.
Her name is Joyce and she is simply brilliant. She is also single, which translates into more time that she can choose to use researching on her family genealogy. Joyce has done an amazing job of researching, traveling, and meeting "new" family members along the way. In the late summer of 1993 Joyce invited our family to travel to her home in Chambersburg, PA for our vacation. She was in the process of planning her family's bi-annual Family Reunion to be co-hosted by herself and her sister -in-law, Lois. Lois and Joyce's brother (and family) live in the Horst Homeplace in Chambersburg. It is a beautiful 3-story Stone home on a Corn Seed Farm. It has been faithfully serving the Horst and Hege families for hundreds of years. This grand home was to be the focal point for that year's family reunion. Over 75 family members came and participated in the many events over the chosen weekend, bringing photographs, poetry, artifacts, and fantastic food to share. The Family History Bug bit me - HARD - during that
Joyce shared a great deal of my husband's family history that week. Upon returning home, I occasionally did light research, but did not really know what to look for or where to look. I fumbled around for a while and quit. The next fall, I traveled with my husband to Washington D.C for a conference. While he was in meetings, I went to the National Archives and learned about reading Microfilm and a bit about the research process. I looked at several years of the US Federal Census for various members of my family, but I had no plan. I came to realize eventually that I could not just hop around like a bumble bee on flowers if I was ever going to really get anything of use accomplished.
I have been working sporadically for the past 5 or 6 years as time allowed or something would happen to remind me of my project. I have learned a great deal, but am still in the beginning class when it comes to my skill level. However, I have now met scores of new family members, even though they are not living and breathing any longer. I thoroughly enjoy the activities involved with family research and look forward to each time I am able to sit down to see what I can find next.
There is certainly an abundance of resources for me to use along the way to discovering who I am. I am so thankful for the family that I have - both those that I know and those that I am in the process of meeting. I am also so appreciative of the assistance I have been offered by fellow researchers. Life is Good!