I have researched my family roots since 1997. During that time I have assembled a fairly extensive family tree with the help of various information sources,including the Estonian Historical Archives, Kihelkonna Parish records, Census records, historical material in museums and libraries, and contacts with local historians and relatives in Estonia. My list of direct ancestors and descendants now spans 10 generations.
I have traced my family roots back to the Pilguse (Hoheneichen) Manor (Mõisa) on the west coast of Saaremaa, where my early ancestors (Pussa Jaen, etc.)apparently worked as servants and peasants. With the assignment of family names in the 1820's, records show the initial spelling of the family name as Kiel; a few years later it appears in it's final version as Kiil.
Descendants of the early ancestors lived mostly in Jõgela Village but also in several other coastal communities including Atla, Lümanda, Karala, Himmiste, Taritu, Lahetaguse, Koovi and Kotland. Eventually some individuals and families moved to mainland Estonia to settle and work there. Today relatives are also found in Sweden, Canada, United States and Australia.
The search for my family roots has proven to be an interesting hobby, but it is the very rich and complex maritime history of the west coast of Saaremaa that especially caught my attention. I hope to collect stories, (I am able to communicate in Estonian), anecdotes, photos, etc. about the life and times of my ancestors/relatives and to pass these on to my children and grandchildren as reminders of their Estonian heritage.
I'm also continuing to research a number of families, including Kiil, Kuivjõgi, Mälk, Hohensee, Tõsine, Jõgel, Saks, Eddal, Keidong, Oja, Sepp, Himmist, Triipan, Hannus, and others.