This weekend: Get a family history

Last November I wrote about my Dad coming to live with me:

It has been challenging and a lot of fun, but in a couple weeks he and my mom will be moving out of State. Yes, they will be escaping Illinois!

This move has meant cleaning out their house. Yesterday I read some papers mom gave me and found out my maternal grandmother’s grandfather fought in the Civil War – for the north. He came to America from Germany in 1853 when he was 19. He married a lady who also came from Germany in 1868.

I had believed no relatives came here until the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. My grandmother wrote this history in 1978, if she hadn’t written it I never would have known.

The Benjamin side of the family has an entire book tracing their root back to the tribe of Benjamin. My family has bits and pieces and research my dad and I did years ago.

To preserve history get your family’s in writing before it’s too late. Your grandkids will love it. Write a COVID history from your perspective. Future generations will be laughing at how stupid we were. History depends on who writes it. Truth will disappear unless we preserve it.

12 thoughts on “This weekend: Get a family history

  1. I totally agree with you we all need to document our history. My Aunt started doing this for the family.
    we have found out.
    Family from Ulster Ireland entered the America and ultimately fought in the Revolutionary War as Captain in a ranger group based out of Pennsylvania. Son pioneered to Illinois where the names of towns in Pennsylvania etc were used to name new settlements in Illinois.

    Another grandparent from Denmark, age 16, was a stowaway in the bottom wooden ship landing at Ellis Island. Settled in Pontiac.

    Seventeenth grandfather was on the Mayflower, had served as a teacher in to the family of king of England.

    Great things to share and also visit those areas if possible.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Fannnnntastic! Great topic and notes! Ho incredible that you can follow your lineage back to one of the twelve tribes. Both of you have very wonderful histories. We all came from somewhere – it’s so interesting to see how pieces fit together. I am still making connections that I didn’t realize were in front of me all along. I love hearing everyone’s stories and learning form each one. Both sides of my family came from Germany after WWII. Like other immigrants they found ways to make a difference in their new country right away. Some were in regular hardworking jobs, others had another path. One was recruited into a young organization called the OSS that since evolved into another agency, and the other was recruited to aerospace engineering, developing technologies on the x-15 platform, satellites, Apollo…. This is real history that gets lost so quickly, and the impact of geopolitical events quickly come to life in perspectives made possible by the firsthand stories of those who were there. I’m documenting them for my family too and telling the stories so they survive.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. All these accounts sound like “white privilege” to me. Coming over on the lower deck of a boat, fighting in the Revolutionary War, having a European bloodline, although being dirt poor. Know what I mean?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. On my father’s side my great great great(?) grandfather was in the Revolutionary War with Washington at Valley Forge winter of 1777 – 1778 in the 14th Virginia Regiment. For his service he got a Virginia Land grant of 200 acres. White 1700’s privilege maybe? That’s what it would be called today. I digress. A few years ago on his grave a marker was placed. My cousin wrote a small book on the family history traced back to England.. I have a pdf copy of it.

    On my mother’s side a couple of relatives have traced family history back to Germany.

    I have spent quite a bit of time on the findagrave website putting family history in and linking relatives. Great because it shows you were they are buried and you can add other photo’s, free. This website is all volunteer work. How long it will be free I don’t know. I saw where Ancestry bought it.

    I also have the editor’s subscription to the website with access to all newspapers. Slowly they have been acquiring newspapers. Great also for finding photo’s and obituaries.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. “Yes, longing to be free is so racist”.

    Did any of your ancestors come over chained in slave ship? Where they sold as property unable to make money forced to work land until that dropped dead? Where they subjected to rape, beatings, murder, by their owners all because they where property? When your ancestors had children did they also automatically became slaves unable to do anything other than work the land of their owners? Was your great-great grandmother raped and forced to have her master’s children to increase the slave population and the wealth of her owner? There were millions of African Americans who had no choice in coming to this country.
    White privilege? That means that your ancestors were able to work for money and move around the country with no limitations. Not so for the 3,953,762 slaves who populated the Southern states in 1860/


      1. My ancestors where enslaved. You made a huge statement that everyone came to this country to be “free”. That’s not true, hundreds of thousands of Africans were chained to the bottom of a slave ships. They had no choice in coming to this country. They were not free and were forced to work in inhuman conditions. As to ancestors dying to stop it, many soldiers from the North did NOT fight to end slavery. Many were poor white immigrants who couldn’t pay to op out of the Civil War. In fact the aim of the Civil War wasn’t to free the slaves, it was to stop the Southern States from seceding from the Union. It was until 1863 and the Emancipation Proclamation that ending slavery was even mentioned.
        As to African tribal chiefs what does that have to do with anything? The fact is that white colonist and then white American citizens had African American slaves. Those African tribal chiefs wouldn’t be selling anything much less humans IF there was NOT a demand by white land owners in this country for slaves. You seem to be “gullible pal”. You claim about people like Native Americans massacring each other is ludicrous. How many people died in the Civil War? Around 650,000 a heck of a lot more than any Native American massacre. Also how many white people massacred Blacks by lynching them well into the 20th century? Also white people sitting around telling African Americans their history is again laughable.


    1. Did you know African tribal chiefs did the same thing to other Africans? Did you know if not for the same tribal chieftains selling their own people into slavery the African slave trade couldn’t have existed? Did you know African tribes, like Native American tribes, massacred each other for food, land, slaves and riches just like other people through time? Your arguments only work on the gullible pal.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Many whites were slaves to the king that were forced to work the land for a mere pittance. Many times hardly enough to eat, with no handouts provided. They were subjected to rape, beatings, and murder. If they had property the taxes were extremely high. Born and raised on that land many generations suffered these abuses. Thank God that it was the decendents of these people that settled in America and eventually ended slavery. And as Diane just noted (our white) ancestors died to stop it. It is unfortunate that the moniker Trainus Decius is filled with the ignorance that dismisses the factual sides of history when it does not fit their narrative.

    Liked by 2 people

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