Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Discovery

Recently I've been thinking about doing some research about my family history. All my life I've had the impression that most of the work on both sides of my family was "already done," so I figured that this would mostly be to learn their stories. I strongly believe that there is more to family history than just getting a list of names. If you aren't interested in the stories, you might as well just read a telephone book or write down chemical formulas. So I thought that even if my family members' temple work has mostly been done, at least some day when we meet again I will be able to say, "Hello, Hans Peter Jensen!"

Well, today I got on the New Family Search and started taking a look at what was already on there. After following the generations back quite a ways--amazed at all the names I didn't recognize at all--I went back close to the beginning and clicked the link for my grammy (maternal grandmother), Jenna V Jensen. And here's a taste of what I saw:

Does it make any sense to you? NO??? Well, it turns out that what happened is that a bunch of people at some point put information about Grammy on the IGI and the Ancestral File and other things, and when they started New Family Search, all of that stuff got put into a big database and dumped into New Family Search. So, while all the names on New Family Search are somewhat useful, there aren't actually any original sources entered for my grammy, or any of her ancestors, as far as I can tell--just all of these numbers representing various submissions into the IGI and other programs, which didn't have a way of putting a source. So, there is work to be done. Not temple work, but I can search for census records, birth certificates, and all sorts of other records, and then on Family Search I can enter the information for those sources so that other people can find those sources too. I looked at some of the family history for my dad's side, and it looks like some of my relatives have already started doing that for some of my Glenn ancestors. I had been feeling like I needed to start with my mom's side of the family, and this confirms that feeling.

So, I am gradually going to start working on getting a family history that is backed up by sources, and while I'm at it I will also be collecting stories, journal entries, letters, pictures, and such. I will be posting what I learn, both about my family and about doing family history, on this blog. It may be slow going, since I'm attending college part-time and raising two active children, but it's a start.

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