A little over a year ago, I became intensely involved with finding out who my family really was, what natural or historical events may have shaped their lives, and even with any amount of luck, I would be able to put a face to those names and dates! When researching I found out a few things, the most important thing being that just because you see it on the internet or in print form doesn’t necessarily make it a fact! I started out with the basic version of Ancestry.com and from here I searched for my Cornett family just to see what information was hiding out inside this site. Granted, there are photos and documents such as BMD records, public and private member trees, stories that members have shared in their trees, census records, immigration and emigration records and so on. What got me into trouble with my tree was linking my current tree to someone else’s data that they had in theirs. Big mistake! HUGE! Not only was there some incorrect data as far as the person’s name but some dates were incorrect too. By the time I realized the error in my ways, I had at least a thousand family members in my descendants’ tree and I had no clue that maybe someone could have made an error. I uploaded a GEDCOM file, which wasn’t created by me, but someone else in the family line and in this file there were tons of errors. This created the biggest family tree on Ancestry that I become sort of lost. Who were these people?
Some of the errors I was at fault for, by presuming these facts to be true in nature, I came to realize that the “research” I thought I was doing, really wasn’t anything but sloppy research on my part. So what do I do now? Delete everything and start over with what I do know as fact! I started with my father, who passed away in 2001, and contacted the mausoleum to obtain his death certificate. Okay, so I’m getting on the right track now; I’m documenting every little piece of information or document I can get my hands on and being that I am his next of kin, I was able to obtain a copy. There was so much more information on this little piece of paper than I had originally thought there would be. I found out the exact time of his death, the facility where he was pronounced dead, his social security number, who his parents were (of course this I already knew), I also found out that he died from congestive heart failure. So having these types of documents further feeds my passion for wanting to know more.
I have talked to family about my passion for genealogy, and they have offered to help me in any way they can, if it is at all possible. I really appreciate all they have done thus far. What next steps do I take? Well, for me, I started to write a blog, originally with BlogSpot, but after a year using the site, I feel that WordPress is offering so much more as far as my writing, which I love to do, and also my desire to connect with others that share my interest in family history. So, with that said, since talking to older family members about what I was doing, I was really overlooking the younger generation. Why not involve them too? Get them interested in who their family really was, what trials and tribulations they may have gone through to get us where we are today. I consider my contributions to this research as a glance into our past. Passing our family legacy onto the younger members of the family. I truly wish I had been this interested 20 years ago!
Researching my families past, who they were, where they lived, who died from what ailment, or even how many children they had, gives me a better idea of what their lives were like. I know some think that what is in the past should stay in the past, but I find this to be a very fulfilling adventure! I like to dig; I like to investigate further so I can paint a picture of who my family was all those years ago. Family stories passed down from generation to generation says that we, the Cornett family, were descended from King Canute, but I haven’t been able to track back that far to say whether this is actually true or not. Yes, we might be, but then again maybe we really aren’t. Another story is that a family member married into the Hatfield family, you know the Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s? The History Channel recently aired their family story and the families well known for their feuding counterparts. I know a member of our family married a Mary Hatfield who was born in 1777, but is it the same one from this notorious family? Or another Mary Hatfield belonging to a different Hatfield generation? Could there be any relation? I hope to one day find out!
This is why I think researching your family’s ancestry is such an adventure! We won’t ever know if we are part of families such as this, unless we investigate and dig deep into our roots. After all, the roots are what keep a family tree standing! I wish you all the luck in finding your past and hearing about your findings as well!