When I was 13 years old, my family held a Pfaff Pfamily Reunion. One of my great-aunts handed me a blank book with the title “Our Family Tree”. Inside were some computer printouts she’d made of our current family makeup – basically a list of everyone from my great-grandparents to present, with their birth and death dates. She told me she thought I should continue working on this.
I don’t know why she chose me. I don’t even know which great-aunt it was; as far as I can recall, I’d never met any of them before. I also didn’t know that this was something that would interest me. But over the years, I’ve dabbled in recording our family stories. I have some older versions on paper (written in a rainbow of colored inks with a child’s hand), and old notes with the mailing addresses of various family record repositories. I remember writing inquiries to these archives and never receiving a response because it didn’t occur to me to send a SASE or payment for copy fees with my request.
The advent of online records, and a computer database (I use a free program called GenealogyJ) has allowed me to expand on my research many times over. I’ve made a lot of amateur mistakes, and I know there are still many, many errors in my records. It’s hard to have the discipline to go back and organize what was recorded.
That’s where this blog comes in. Basically it’s some random mumbling about whatever I feel like mumbling about. My intent is to get researching again on a more regular basis, and each topic prompts me to go back to my database and find the gaps, as well as the things that sparked this in the first place.
I wish my great-aunt knew what she had inspired. I’ve found some really interesting discoveries about my ancestors, and feel a connection with my past in a way I wouldn’t otherwise have, if not for her request.