Affection for ancestors and genealogy books

I’m back on genealogy.

I have been spending most of my time the past several days updating the family history book I created for my mother in 1998. At that time I used the Family Tree Maker software book program. It’s a clunky program, on an older computer, and nobody else can open the files if I want to share the story. So I am moving the whole book, all 146 pages of it, into Word by copying, pasting, and updating information .

When I have a good copy finished, I plan to post it on my Adams and Lemmon Genealogy site at WordPress. I have had some luck finding distant relatives who are researching the same lines as I am by posting stories about ancestors like the Mary Etta Conner Lemmon post from my Stitches we Leave Behind series. One of Mary Etta’s great-granddaughters, like myself, found the page and has been corresponding with me. This was much more exciting than it might sound to you because I now have a copy of my great-grandmother’s sugar cookies I wrote about in the post. A windfall as far as I am concerned. Although I searched and searched and tried out different recipes, I was never able to replicate those big soft cookies my great-grandmother used to make.

I started researching my family history in 1983, shortly after our oldest son was born. I felt more connected to my roots with the arrival of our son.

My father’s aunt, who was a Sister of Mercy, had started researching her family line, the Wirrigs. She gave me her research and I began.

Over the years I have worked on our family history on and off again. When I first started, like most people at that time, I did not even own a computer. I kept records by hand, wrote letters for information, and visited cemeteries. Today a membership to opens up the world for you.

I also interviewed most of my elderly relatives. So many of these storytellers are no longer with us. I am grateful I took the time to talk to them while I still could.

Stories of my grandmothers and grandfathers  began to come to life on the paper and in my mind. I imagined what their lives might have been like. I began to feel affection for my ancestors.

Today I updated my parents’ genealogies in their file on my computer by adding the dates of their deaths. It feels so final somehow. Mom and Dad have now joined the ranks of the mothers and fathers and grandparents who only live on in the stories on paper and in our minds.

I feel a great affection for my ancestors.


Grandma Lemmons Sugar Cookies


11 thoughts on “Affection for ancestors and genealogy books”

  1. Christine,
    A while back you shared some wonderful information on the Bryants with us. My son, Alan, and I have been working to try and locate the parents of Thomas, but with no success. I made a trip to Frankfort the last time I was visiting my sister in Lexington with the hopes of finding birth, marriage,or death certificates for Thomas, thinking there might be info on his parents. No such luck. He was born too early and died a year after their records. We’ve been looking in Find a Grave, church records, and other sites but so far nothing. We have entered a lot of detail in our family file. We have found a possiblily as Thom’s father, Stephen Bryant, St. Marys, Auglaise, Ohio. see 1850 census. You are welcome to view our tree if you want. I’ll set you up as a “guest” or whatever they call it so you can see what we have there. There are 2 cmsmiths and one carolyn smith listed on the Member Directory. Would either of these be you? This is our tree,

    1. It’s been a while since I worked on this. I’ve been a member of on and off since 2009, but I never uploaded family trees. I’m going to pay for a membership again and upload my files this time. I couldn’t view your link without putting my credit card in and doing the free trial. I’ll have to get my Bryant records back out and let you know if I have anything else.

      Can you set me up as a guest? I am Christine Grote on Ancestry.

  2. I’ve done a little genealogy research on my father’s side and an uncle thoroughly researched my mother’s family tree, and I have to say I’d love to do more. It’s so fascinating to learn more. My biggest regret is that I couldn’t get my grandmother or grandfather — who emigrated from Russia — to ever let me interview (no one really did) and now there’s only one aunt left who might have stories. I really need to talk to her and find out. I love (and like you have been a member off and on — for help with real life family and fiction families) but I’ve found it pretty frustrating to use because I don’t know the system well enough and don’t have time to invest in it, but I’d love to. By the way, I have a friend who hired a professional to track down a long-lost great-grandparent’s story, and it wasn’t that expensive, surprisingly. I’d never considered it until I talked to her. Great post, Christine! (p.s. I’m still combing through my grandmother’s papers, what few I have, for her amazing black walnut cookie recipe… an old tin storage container smelled like them for years… but I’ve yet to find it. You’re so lucky you found that recipe)

    1. Genealogy research has changed so much since I began all those years ago. I’m itchy to dig back into it. But it is a time sink. And right now I really need to finish my dad’s book. I am close to having a first draft.

      Your Russian roots are interesting. You may be able to find a second cousin or someone down the road who has that recipe. At minimum you might consider putting a page or two up on your blog somewhere that gives the information and names that you have. People search. I’ve been found by quite a few distant relatives that way.

      I’ve enjoyed seeing your morning photos again. My photography has turned into another big time drain for me, but I enjoy it very much. I’m trying to learn and improve my skills. I need more minutes in the days, more days in the years, and more years in my life. But don’t we all?

  3. I haven’t done any ancestry research, but my cousin has put a lot of effort into looking into our family’s history. Those of us who don’t do the work are grateful to those who do. It’s wonderful for your family that you preserved the stories of your elderly relatives before they died.

    1. One of my greatest regrets is that I didn’t become interested in family history until after I retired. Sadly, many people that had the history stored away in their memory banks had died. Today much of the physical details of dates and places are preserved in our wonderful searchable databases. However, what is lost forever are the stories that were told. I remember a few that my grand parents told from when I was very young, but the majority are gone. So, for all the younger folks that may read this, make a point of sitting down with your older relatives and getting them to talk about their lives and the lives of their parents and grandparents. Take a little recorder, secretly if you must, into these discussions. Get the stories in draft form and neaten them up later. I’m also trying to write, in draft form, memories from my youth, so that after I’m gone and some of my descendants are interested there’ll be something that they can read about the “old days” and Papa.

      1. Wonderful idea Harry. I’d be interested in reading some of the memories you have. This is something I need to do, too. Although, when I pass on, my relatives are going to have to sort through numerous, partially filled journals that they will find on book shelves, in end tables, and night stands. I pity them for having to deal with the mess I’ll likely leave behind.

  4. Funny. Same here, but here computer files abound along with ancient photographs of people who I’m pretty sure are ancestors, but I have no idea who they are. What a shame I didn’t know about the photos and initiate dialog with relatives in the know… like I said in my post… big regrets. Maybe one of these days there will be a way of uploading an image and having an identity come back. Guess I’ve been watching too much TV.


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