Way, way back. I’ve been going through the genealogy records again with renewed curiosity, less intensity. It’s fun to know the details as if it’s a puzzle. But, like anything else that requires time, it can’t turn into a distraction big enough to create distance from the main thing.
The biggest breakthrough is the internet. As more names are researched by others e.g. the Mormons and Ancestry.com participants, the less travel is required, the fewer hours spent in old courthouse boxes, the smaller the phone bill and gas bill.
Sometimes people find me. I received a comment on my post of mom’s mom’s father Dirk Hoornstra, the immigrant from Holland. Tom Hoornstra, a university professor in Holland apparently searched Dirk’s name and there I was. The lineage backward in the Hoornstra line seems to have stopped in 1704, so Tom is spending more energy researching the decendents.
Just a few evenings on the sofa with the laptop and I’ve filled in several generational gaps on both my side and Honey’s, and discovered parents who have parents who have parents, and so on. My first goal years ago was to backtrack to the boat on each line. This gets involved when you realise that you have 4 grandparents, 16 great grandparents, then you get to haul out your own calculator. I’ve found out that once I find the boat people, I want to know more and more and more. No, it’s not obsession yet, not as long as I am in my house, close to the kitchen and keep the main thing the main thing.
I did hit paydirt on one line through Dad’s mother’s father, James Preston Parrish. I had found 3 pages taped together, tucked into the 300 year old Bible that had been carried through the wilderness of Tennessee and Kentucky, written by hand, bracketing ancestors back to 1100-something in England to a sherriff with no surname. Also in that line were Burtons, two of whom were knighted, one of whom was given land. Hmmmm. Land. I wonder if I’m the last living descendent …… That paper is filed somewhere out of reach of the sofa and kitchen. I will have to find it. sometime. In the meantime, I found a name I’d been missing on my prior research and lo, at the bottom of the entry were the parents. I clicked on one, more parents, then more and more and more.
Finally at midnight, I reached back into time to Francis Burton of New Castle, York, London, England, born 1560 who married Katherine of St. Chad, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England, born 1558.
Well. Alrighty then. When I have another chance, I’ll see if I can find someone in oh, say, Irleland, maybe?
What is the main thing? The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. It’s not the dead relatives.