Saturday, May 16, 2009

Who Inspired Me to Begin My Genealogy Research

For the usual Saturday night fun, Randy over at GeneaMusings has suggested we discuss who inspired us to begin our genealogy research. Well, it was definitely my paternal grandmother who inspired me to begin genealogy research when I was about 13 years old around 1994 or so.

I think I had always been a genealogist at heart, writing down the names and birth dates of all my first cousins on my mom's side from the time I learned how to write. I had over 20 first cousins, so I knew I had to get them and their birth dates down on paper, even at six years old. I did this repeatedly until I was about ten years old and had memorized everything. After I had a pretty good handle on them, I moved on to my 11 aunts and uncles and their birth dates. Then I started asking my paternal grandmother tons of questions about her parents and grandparents when I was about 11 years old, so not long after is when she suggested we could really research this at a library (this is just before the Internet became popular).

There was a genealogy library about 20 minutes from us. Over the summer, we found a beginner's workshop they were holding, so we went to that. But before we went, like any good genealogists, we took pedigree charts filled in with the information we already knew about her parents and grandparents and even great-grandparents, as well as my paternal grandfather's parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. We had gone through the boxes my grandmother inherited from both of her parents when they died in the 1980s, and the box that my paternal grandfather had inherited from his mother when she died in 1993. They contained Bible records created by my paternal grandmother's paternal grandmother, as well as a baptism certificate for my paternal grandfather's paternal grandfather, among many items. I had also questioned my maternal grandmother about her parents and those of my maternal grandfather, who passed away when my mom was only 11 years old.

Anyhow, after the beginner's workshop, armed with our pedigree charts, we obtained assistance from one of the librarians on resources in the library. We determined that since my paternal grandmother was born in Oklahoma, and my mother's family were all from Michigan and Canada, it would be easiest to start with my paternal grandfather's side of the family, who was from southwest Louisiana. Since the library was located in southwest Louisiana, most of it's resources were from that area (remember that this is at the very early dawn of Internet research). So I began my library research with my paternal Trahan line.

We had the names as far back as my great-great-great-grandparents on the Trahan side, since we had found my great-great-grandfather's baptismal certificate in those boxes. At the library, there were several volumes of books titled Southwest Louisiana Records from the 1700s to 1909 by Rev. Donald Hebert. The books were abstracts of primarily Catholic church and courthouse records from several parishes and dioceses in southwest Louisiana. We knew from the baptismal record we had found in the boxes that my great-great-grandfather Oscar's parent's were Theoville TRAHAN and Anna WISE. Using Father Hebert's books, we found an abstract of their marriage record, which listed their parents, and we were able to take this back several generations to the 1700s when the first Trahan arrived in Louisiana.

So, in a nutshell, this is how I got started in genealogy.

1 comment:

  1. Jenny aways liked lists of names. I may still have some pages she copied out of the telephone book when she first learned to print.
    signed; Grandmother Trahan