SNGF: It Began With a Simple Conversation with My Grandma

SNGF: It Began With a Simple Conversation with My Grandma

This week for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun Randy asks how we began researching our family tree.  I can still remember the moment when I started this journey.

We were visiting my grandma at the rest home where she lived.  It was a beautiful sunny day and we were outside in the patio area having a chat.

My grandma as young girl going to school in Oakland
My grandma as young girl going to school in Oakland

When my grandma started talking about family history, my ears perked up.  I’ve always been interested in history and wanted to know more about my ancestry.  She was telling us that boys need to know their roots and she was mad at my brother because she sent him some letters about our family history and he didn’t say much about it.

As she went on, I got a little annoyed.  Humph!  Boys need to know their roots?  What about girls?  We hold up half the sky after all.

My grandma could be intimidating and gruff.  Knowing that this partnership might now work out, I suggested that she send the stuff to me and I would put together a family tree.

Get that?  “Put together a family tree”.  Oh, I was so naive.

A few days later, she sent me a letter about her father’s voyages around the world.  I ate this stuff up and I wanted more.

After four letters, my grandma called to tell me she was finished.  Finished?   How could we be finished?  I hadn’t even started doing real research and I was already hooked.

That was how I got started in genealogy.  Though my grandma’s interest waned over time and she was sometimes downright hostile when I accidentally let a skeleton out of the closet, I continued the search.

My genealogy motto is “You might as well tell me, I’m going to find out anyway!”  With or without her, I continued the journey.

It’s been 25+ years since I had that conversation with my grandma.  Genealogy is the best hobby I ever got involved in.

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2 thoughts on “SNGF: It Began With a Simple Conversation with My Grandma

  1. Fun to read how you got started. What a happy little girl your grandmother appears to be! I so seldom see photographs of children of that period smiling and looking genuinely happy. I’m fascinated by her clothing too, wondering if her dress is made of homespun wool, or perhaps linen or cotton, and the hands that fashioned it. Do I see lace on the collar, or is that my imagination?

  2. Kathryn, Thanks for stopping by! This is the youngest photograph that I have of her. It is part of a larger school class photograph. I’ll have to post the full photograph. It is a more casual photo than you usually see of children in this era. And, just like children, my grandma scribbled out the face of someone she did not like. Some things don’t change! LOL

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