Genealogy Research Made Simple

There was a cartoon in the paper a while ago that I had to save: “Shoe” by Chris Cassatt & Gary Brookins. The character “The Senator” was being interviewed by the reporter who asks, “What initially inspired you to run for president?” The Senator goes on to explain his interest in tracing his family’s roots, searching through old records, etc. only to discover that it took too much of his time. So he decided to get into politics. “What does all that have to do with a presidential bid” asked the reporter. Holding up the newspaper, the Senator replies, “Now, you boys in the press are doing it for me!”

So the real answer is that there’s nothing simple about genealogy and the research it demands. Armed with the mantra that “Genealogy without research is Mythology”, we delve into areas that we really had no idea ever existed! I’m going to blog about what got me started (it wasn’t a presidential bid!) where its taken me and the challenges I face for my own background and that of the many people who have been attending my classes and asking for my assistance.

Suffice it to say for now that I’ve found many surprises, a few “lost inheritances” (NOT MINE!!!) and many new friends around the country who to whom I just happen to be related. The Moore’s in Alabama, the Robison’s in Missouri, the Robinson’s in Indiana, the Blodgett’s and the Lillie’s in New York and Massachusetts, the Casey’s in California, the Bassett’s in ….well… all over! Michigan, Ohio, Colorado, Massachusetts, Texas, Hawaii… the list goes on. These aren’t just names I found in old records; these are people with whom I’ve communicated, listened to their stories and discovered what a small world this really is.

I’m can legitimately count a couple of presidents in my “collateral” lines. William Howard Taft and I share a common ancestor, Deacon Samuel Chapin, one of the founders of the city where I was born, Springfield, Massachusetts. The deacon was also the progenitor of Harry Chapin and Marion Morrison who you would all know as John Wayne. Yes, they’re cousins, albeit distant! I can count pilgrims and Puritans (there’s a difference) from Plymouth Colony including a great grandfather who fell off the Mayflower and had to be rescued, John Howland. Look up his story! And I have no less than 12 direct ancestors who are Revolutionary War Patriots. My 4th Great Grandfather, Hezekiah Robion, was a veteran of the East Tennessee Volunteers in the War of 1812. I have direct ancestors who were Confederates and others who were Yankees.

And the list goes on and on. Stay tuned…

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