Welcome to my inaugural Post on Geni Junkie! I have entitled my Blog “Your Roots Are Showing”. I feel like this is a momentous occasion, and I should be smashing a bottle of champagne against the bow of this behemoth ship that’s about to set sail. I have chosen the tagline Everything is Relative, because in Genealogy, that is definitely the case! (and because it’s a funny pun, wink)
I started my own genealogical journey on an Easter long weekend some 30 years ago by typing my name “Susan Snelgrove” into my internet search engine. (Yes, computers were invented back then). It came back with a record from the 1860’s on a genealogy site for Newfoundland. I knew my grandparents were born there, so I thought, “that’s cool!” 8 hours and an aching neck later, I was hooked! I bet you have a similar story.
This was back in the day when not a lot was available on line, and you actually had to write to archives, or if you were lucky, visit them in person. Fast forward 30 years, and there are billions of records from multiple service providers of on-line content and tree makers and other tools, as well as the magic bullet, DNA research, which I have embraced enthusiastically.
I am a prolific researcher and I if I can brag a little, quite a successful sleuth. I have learned so much and helped so many people with their own research over the years that I was urged by others to finally bring my knowledge and massive database into the public domain.
So here I am, ready to teach you how to be successful with your own Family Tree research.
A bit about my own family first…. Since my father’s parents were Newfoundlanders, much of my research knowledge base is specific to Newfoundland and to the West Country of England where the settlers largely originated. My mother’s side is from Northern Ireland and England, with some Irish and Scottish roots, so I have lots of knowledge for genealogy research in those places too.
But I have helped others with their Jewish, American and European roots, and I have even helped several adoptees find their birth families. Those stories are especially worthy of their own blog! It doesn’t really matter where you’re from, the genealogy research techniques are largely the same. And most of it can be done without ever leaving your chair (except for the odd beverage and inevitable bathroom break).
Through the enquiries I get I realized that people can be easily overwhelmed with how to successfully build their family trees. They get a subscription to something like Ancestry.com (which is excellent), and just rely on the little leaves that pop up as hints. But after a while they might hit a brick wall, and then they lose their motivation to go on. Opportunity lost!
I recently had an enquiry from a woman looking for the parents of a certain person, and she said she had been looking for years and was stumped. With the barest of information, I was able to find her the answer in 15 minutes. I was puzzled why she couldn’t find it “for years”, and then I realized that people just simply don’t know how or where to look! Knowledge that I take for granted after learning tips and tricks for 30 years, isn’t something you’re born with. Simply put, you don’t know what you don’t know. Believe me, there is SO much more than what’s at family tree sites like Ancestry.com, Family Tree, 23&Me, FindMyPast, MyHeritage et al. And it’s ok that YOU don’t know how to find it, because I DO.
You have likely guessed that I love doing Genealogy as a hobby, and since you found this Blog, that means you probably do too. I enjoy nothing more than discovering a new Ancestor, and while my tree is extensive, it will never truly be done.
After a while, the discoveries lessened, and so I started doing other people’s trees. And I had become so interested in Newfoundland History in general that I started recording people who were known to be connected with the fishery. Hey, don’t judge me! I know it’s an addiction. That’s why this site is called GeniJunkie! But, I rationalized it by saying it could be of interest “someday” to “someone”. And guess what? It was! This is how my family tree called “Newfoundland” came to have 31,500+ names in it (currently, and counting!)
I do Genealogy because it’s fun (and soothes my obsessive nature), but most of all, I really get a kick out of helping people. That’s what spurred me on to start this site.
So over a series of Blog Posts, I am going to do a data dump from my brain to yours, giving you all my tips and tricks and research know how, the pitfalls you might fall into, and how you can bust through brick walls to build a really solid and beautifully pruned Family Tree that reaches to the sky.
Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or even expert researcher like me, I know you will learn something you didn’t know before.
At some point I will be providing my own research papers under a separate area on this site for downloading. You’ll find a sample here. I have such a large repository of discoveries, I know that Newfoundland family history researchers will find this information invaluable. Stay tuned, I just have to write them first…. There’s only about 100 to do! I am going to start with my great, great, great, great, GREAT grandmother – “Who is Ann Snelgrove of Lower Island Cove?”
Thanks for your interest, and I hope you will find my site very helpful to your research. If you’d like to jump to my first Blog you will indeed see that Everything is Relative, in “The Foundation of Great Genealogy Research”.
Your Geni Junkie friend,