This is a photo of my Great Grandfather Benjamin standing out in front of a Brooklyn, NY fire pumper. After living in NY for many years as a fireman, he decided to take his three sons and get away from the city and the gangs, etc.
Here he is again (man on the right) on the boardwalk ... I'm guessing somewhere along the coast of New Jersey. (Atlantic City?) After his wife died, he married this sweet, sweet lady who became the grandmother everyone knew and loved. I heard so much about her I named my cat, Minnie, after her! (Wonder what she would have thought of that????)
And this is a picture of my beloved Grandmother. She was only 18 years old at the time. She was born in Massachusetts and met my Grandfather (one of the three sons from Brooklyn) after her family moved south to New Jersey. Isn't it weird how it all happens? If neither family had moved south, they never would have met.
It was after my Grandmother went into a nursing home we really started researching. I had always kept lists and hand drawn family trees but this was something more. We found cemetery and funeral documents, certificates, and newspaper clippings. She had saved everthing that she could, lucky for us. Many other important family documents were supposedly lost in a fire back in Brooklyn. (Ironic since my Great Grandfather was a fireman...)
What I'm working on currently is a compilation of everything we have learned. It's my Dad's birthday in about a week and I'm hoping to surprise him with a family tree "book." Although this version is a work in progress, a rough draft of sorts, it is a start.
It takes all kinds of ways to gather information. Things like family documents that you have in your possession, interviewing relatives, writing letters to churches, and retrieving archives, just to name a few. I'm no geneologist, but I've learned a lot by trial and error.
I've had a lot of help from the new Family Tree Maker software program and Ancestry.com. I highly recommend it if you are also trying to compile your family's history. You can download census records and more from the internet through the program. And to think I used to travel to Washington, D.C and sort through microfilm to find these documents! This is much easier now.
Happy Birthday, Dad!