Thursday, August 16, 2007

What The Next Generation Will Value Most

Ann Midgley McCune, 1826-1911, my great-great grandmother, quilter, weaver, Mormon pioneer.

“.. what the next generation will value most is not what we owned, but the evidence of who we were and the tales of how we lived. In the end, it's the family stories that are worth the storage."--Ellen Goodman, The Boston Globe

Way back in Feb. I wrote about finding a quilt through doing genealogy. It was such a wonderful experience. I learned about Ann Midgley and the story of her life. I know I got my love for quilting from her. Ann quilted and made woven rugs to sustain her as she raised her children and grandchildren alone. I was finally able to find one of quilts! One of her great granddaughters had it, who has since passed away, and the quilt is now on display in a museum in Utah.
I received a number of emails asking how to get started in family history and so I am finally getting around to answering. (It's been a busy year!)

Ever wonder how you start your family history? There are three simple steps to get started:

First: Start by writing everything you know about your ancestors. Gather information about yourself, siblings, parents, grandparents. Write down specific information.

Second: Look for more information around your home. Useful sources include: birth, marriage and death certificates, family bibles, journals, letters, photo albums, funeral programs, obituaries, wedding announcements, military records. Add this information to your pedigree and family group forms.

Third: Choose a family or ancestor you want to learn something about. Look for missing information. Start with the generations closest to you and work your way back. Remember to ask other family members questions about your ancestors. Tape record conversations with older members of your family.
The program I use to compile and organize my genealogy information is "Personal Ancestral File" available free at From that site you can also find a Family History Library, where classes and help are offered free of charge. The libraries are located all over the world.
I believe that as you gather and verify information, seek pictures and stories, you will be drawn closer to your ancestors. And besides! It's one of the most popular hobbies in America right now. It's fun and even addictive. You'll love it!
Someone once said: "I trace my family history so I will know who to blame. Remember every family tree has some sap in it!"
Here are some great links that can help you. Good luck! (maybe you'll even find a quilt, like I was did!)
Pictured right: The Ann Midgley McCune quilt I found and is now on display at the Pioneer Museum in Nephi, Utah (the small town south of Salt Lake City, where Ann lived and raised her children and grandchildren.)
Check out these FREE websites to see what's available online: (Over 175,000 links to other more specific familiy history sites) (Barbara Renick's home page with other family history links) (Geographic site that gets you into State & County info) (Surname queries) (for getting foreign documents translated) (A link to the British Isles genealogy web page) (Gateway to many sites in United Kingdom & Ireland) (Geographic listings for around the world) (Has Salt Lake collection of Chinese Family Histories
This one is not free, but one of the best and worth the price of membership:

1 comment:

Feather on a Wire said...

How cool to find a grandmother who quilted! And then to find one of her quilts. So exciting. I don't think any women in my family sewed, the gen mutated in the generation of my sister and I,