How to Avoid Pitfalls in Family History Discovery and Sharing

What did I do? Why won't they speak to me?

Avoid Pitfalls In Family History Discovery and Sharing In your family history detective work you cannot expect to be perfect, but you should strive to avoid pitfalls. There are few pitfalls more gut wrenching than spending time in discovery only to have your findings dashed by others.  This article is written to help you avoid pitfalls that result in you being dashed.  Let’s consider three scenarios.   In the first scenario, you share your findings online and suddenly you find that you have been cut off from that newly discovered family tree.  When you question the online tree owner, s/he informs you that you could not possible related to them because of xyz.   In another, you make a family discovery that uncovers a deep dark hidden secret and now a family member (or group of fam ...


The Christmas Dinner

The Christmas Dinner Every year my family and I would drive 18 hours from North Carolina to Florida to have Christmas dinner with my mom, and to escape the bitter cold. Mom didn’t travel much so this was the one time of the year she could see her grandchildren. I’m an only child and felt this was very important to keep their relationship.   The trip was long and sometimes uncomfortable. As driver and Dad, I had full control of the radio and CDs, so that meant 18 hours of classic rock n’ roll, rhythm and blues, and classic soul. Currently my children, now in their 20’s, are masters of “old school music.” You’re welcome kids!   The Dinner The trip to grandma’s house was a part of a time honored tradition so that they could engage in, what I ...


The Cold and Warm of Christmas

Winter Mountain

The Cold and Warm of Christmas IT’S THE WONDERFUL COLD THAT I REMEMBER SO WELL! My grandparents’ house was wonderful in all the glorious western NC mountain seasons. Delightfully fragrant and warm springs, temperate sunny summers, chilly and colorful autumns and cold bright winters. Oh, the winters with snow and ice and majestic mountaintops covered in snow. You do have to know, before I go any further, that my grandparents had a lovely old home that had few “modern” improvements, like central heating. The whole house was “heated” by a Ziegler oil burning heater that was in the living room. Once fully engaged on “high” the living room reached a temperature just south of the temperature required to combust paper into raging fires. At that precise moment, however, the furthest reaches of the ...


Thanksgiving Dinner Talk

Turkey Image

Thanksgiving is here and this is the perfect time to gather family stories while everyone is together. The family is all getting together for dinner.  This presents an opportunity if you can avoid the obstacles it also presents. What obstacles? You might ask?  Well, it’s the choices we make about conversations. There are a few things that we’ve been told aren’t “dinner table talk.” Many of us grew up in homes where there was a rule: No talking about politics, religion or money while at the table. In the wake of the 2016 election, this may be particularly difficult, especially if yours is a family that is divided along political lines. Some may still be mourning the results of the presidential election while others are celebrating. Some may be scared to death about what comes next, while ot ...


Disaster and Family Treasures

Damage to family history

Disaster and family treasures; not so odd a paring. The things we own have stories. Seeing and touching your family history is gratifying. Sometimes things have stories. Seeing and touching your family history is gratifying.. It is hard for me to explain to others how much it means to have “things” from my ancestors.  Some of the things that I have saved over the years include: Aunt Minnie’s oil lamp – Aunt Minnie was afraid of the dark and ALWAYS slept with an oil lamp next to her bed. Grandma’s China Cabinet –It is a beautiful wood and rounded glass piece with claw-and-ball feet (the feet are fashioned to represent a bird’s claw gripping a ball). The story is that the piece was originally too tall to fit in grandma’s house so she sawed off the balls under the claw ...