Blogging Prompts, Oral History, Uncategorized

#MyGenealogyStory

My blog has been dormant for a while now, and one of my goals for 2022 is to remedy that neglect. What better way to get started than to participate in the January 26 #MyGenealogyStory challenge? 

My genealogy story began, appropriately enough, as stories. I can remember as a child eating at Great Western Pizza in Caldwell, Idaho, and asking my dad to “tell me more stories!” Later I made the same request of my grandparents and (thank goodness) took notes. I was also intrigued by the “green booklet,” a pamphlet written about my Hoffmann ancestors’ journey from Alsace-Lorraine to America in 1883.

Stories started to take on a more structured framework when I stumbled across a family history book my second cousin David Johnson wrote and printed for his grandparents’ 50th anniversary in 1989. This plastic comb-bound book traced our common ancestors back many more generations than I had imagined possible at fifteen.

While in high school I read all the genealogy books I could find in my public library and visited my local Family History Center. I wrote out pedigree charts and family group sheets in longhand and filed them in 3-ring binders, then eventually migrated that data over to genealogy software programs. 

It wasn’t until I started graduate school and had consistent access to the internet that things really took off. I found myself corresponding with David Johnson and other newly-found relatives, writing away for copies of records, and continuing to expand my family tree. As technology advances, I continue to take advantage of what it can offer through DNA testing, accessing online documents, and viewing images of headstones and scans of newspapers that would be too distant (or too numerous) to see in person. That same technology then allows me to reach back out to relatives and strangers alike and share those stories that got me hooked over Great Western pizza in the first place. 

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