Apr 29, 2010

Welcome to Ancestor Chase!

A Little History 
I have been obsessed with my family history and genealogy in general for a long time.  Even as a child I loved listening to old family stories told by my parents, grandmother, and even the grandparents of friends.  My father passed his love of history on to me in many ways.  Every night when I was a small child instead of reading me the traditional childhood stories he would tell me about events in history.  Every vacation we took involved visiting a historical site.  We even spent a whole vacation in New Jersey visiting cemeteries (my mother was not pleased!).

My Motivation
I became actively involved in researching my roots around 1980 when I was in college majoring in history.   An assignment for a history class was to write a paper on how my own ancestors fit traditional immigration patterns.  This took me beyond the usual family stories and I started to record all the information I gathered from interviewing family members. 
My real motivation to continue researching was my great grandfather, Eugene Lammay.  I had known for a long time that he abandoned his family and disappeared, but the more I talked to my grandmother about him the more I wanted to know.  I decided at this time I wanted to find out what happened to him.  Not only for myself (I love a mystery) but also for my grandmother and mother.  He is still my brick wall because I do not know when or where he died.  However I have learned more than I could have ever imagined possible.  I found his father had done the same thing--abandoned his first wife and children to move across the state with my great, great grandmother (who also left her first husband).  I also discovered Eugene had another family right at the start of his marriage to my great grandmother, producing half siblings my grandmother probably did not even know about.

My Research Philosophy
All of this information on Eugene (as well as the rest of my ancestors) did not come quickly and easily.  It took lots of research and time digging through records plus visiting libraries, cemeteries, and other places.  However the evolution of all the genealogy data available on the internet over the years made my research tasks easier.  Time was definitely a factor.  I could search the census on line in the fraction of time it would have taken me to search on microfilm in a library.  My philosophy is that researching sources and documents only available in libraries and archives is still important and necessary to do the most complete job; but internet research can be a blessing by saving time and sometimes even money.  Sometimes scanned images of original documents can be found on line eliminating the need to send away and pay for copies.  Finding obituaries, city directories, census data, etc. on line can save you a trip to the library.  Plus the clues you generate from internet research can point you in the right direction, therefore saving time when you do make that trip to the library.  You can connect with other people for basic help and find cousins you did not know existed.  Plus there are many kind souls out there that will look up obituaries, grave sites, etc. when you cannot travel across states to do it yourself.  However I believe you have to be careful using internet data in your genealogy research.  There is an overwhelming amount of data out there including information that is just plain incorrect.  It certainly can be a frustrating challenge sorting through it all, but the rewards make it all worth it. 

Why a Blog?
I picked the name Ancestor Chase because many times I feel like that is what I am doing, chasing my ancestors through the years.  Sometimes I catch the information I am chasing, sometimes I feel like I am on a wild goose chase.  Regardless I have learned so much in the past 30 years and continue to learn each day.  I love to share what I have learned and help others out with their research.  That is why I started this blog.  Plus I absolutely love writing and talking about all things related to genealogy.  Since my own family’s eyes start to glaze over when I go on too long, especially about the more technical aspects, I thought it would be fun to communicate with other like minded individuals who can understand this obsession.

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