Wednesday, January 25, 2012

History and Family Records-Part 2

My obsession started in December 2011 while I was on vacation. I decided to compile my grandmother's writings.  The more I read the stories of my grandmother's past, the deeper my passion grew to learn more about my ancestry.  After all, Grandma had already started the research on the Bauman and Williams family lines, compiling notes, copies of census records, and vital documents.  In her research binders were newspaper articles on her parents' marriage and her father's illness and death.  She even went as far to hunt down her parents' marriage certificate, as well as an agreement of adoption for her father when he was a boy.  I could not help but be inspired by how my mother's ancestors survived the trials and tribulations of their time.

After learning more about my mother's side of the family, I started on a quest to discover details about my father's side of the family.  I browsed genealogy sites, conducted general web searches for family trees, and came across some amazing people who helped me find out more. I found a very distant cousin, who put me in touch with Kenneth Haughton, a family descendant who has written an entire book on our family ancestry.  In my genealogy library, I now have a 1200 page book on CD on my family ancestry. Since, I have corresponded with two distant relatives who have sent me family information.

I am still researching and coming up with information on my family tree five generations back.  This evening I found the marriage certificate at ancestry.com of my great-great grandparents.  I mean, what could be better than that?

While there are many triumphs in my family research, there are also false leads.  For example, my mother's great-great grandfather descended from Germany.  In fact my grandfather's father came from there in about 1885 or thereabouts.  I thought I had found the immigration passenger list with him and his young wife.  After tracking down a family history my grandmother (my mother's mother) had tucked away, I realized I had been tricked by the names being the same. Later on, I found more information on his arrival to the United States.

My adventures in family research have led me to wonder what their lives were like back then. Most people didn't have luxuries, and if they did they were not the same kinds of things we have today. Two hundred years ago you might have found wealthy people with a fancy house, fancy clothes, and maybe nice outhouses and a shower house.  

As I continue my research, I look forward to writing some stories about my ancestor's lives..The nice thing about fiction is that you can write about real people, put them in circumstances of their day, and build some great stories.  There is no reason to know the exact details of a person's life, facts and imagination are enough to come up with a good story.

Meanwhile, I have my query letter out to agents and have heard back on a few.  Most are standard rejections, but a few agents have provided compliments on my writing. I will keep querying, writing, and researching family history.

Happy writing!

To Go Oxford....or Not

Do you use the Oxford comma or do you omit it? Some grammar sages say to either keep it or omit it, unless omitting the Oxford comma will...