Genealogy

Names in our family that I am presently working on or that I have worked on in the past:

BEABOUT, BUTLER, FOX, MATTINGLY, ROCKHILL and SHOOK

I don’t know why I’m so interested in genealogy, but it keeps me off the streets and out of the casinos!  I’ve been searching and searching for my husband’s and my ancestors since 1972.   At that time I came down with what is referred to as “genealogy pox.” Symptoms are continual complaint as to need for names, dates and places. Patient has a blank expression and is sometimes deaf to spouse and children, has a compulsion to write letters, and frequents strange places such as cemeteries and courthouses. Patient mumbles to herself and has a strange faraway look in her eyes. There is no treatment and medication is useless. The disease is not fatal but grows progressively worse. Patient should attend genealogy workshops, subscribe to genealogy computer programs and be given a quiet corner of the house for work and the piles of documents which will accumulate. The sicker the patient gets, the more she enjoys it. There is no known cure!

Actually, I love sitting at my desk, spending time on my computer and putting pieces of puzzles together. That’s what genealogy is about, finding one person after another, one by one, piece by piece, until the puzzle eventually fits together to form a solid group or family. Genealogy is defined in Webster’s Dictionary as “account of the descent of a person or family from an ancestor or ancestors” or “the making or investigation of such accounts.” In actuality, genealogy is sitting for hours at the computer, typing endless letters to family members, historical societies, county offices, visiting court houses, cemeteries, scouring libraries, making phone calls, staring at illegible microfilm in the darkroom of a library, holding a microphone to tape record an older family member speaking of their memories, walking through damp cemeteries, and the tremendous excitement when you find another generation backward. Today’s computers have made some things, like visiting libraries and court houses almost unnecessary because we can check information on the computer and order most records to be mailed or even emailed to us. Today’s modern genealogist spends more time on the computer scouring all the information available and trying to sort out the real work from those that just copy and paste something they see. That can really mess up a line when a novice puts down something without proving or disproving it and the next novice person simply copies the wrong information from them. Genealogy helps you study and appreciate history and be proud, or maybe horrified, when you find the part your ancestors played in it. It shows that fashion, customs, war, pride, children, love, worry and death are a part of every generation. It can also create a book just to help you keep track of your family’s birthdays, death dates, and anniversaries.

When our immigrant ancestors arrived in America, it was a beautiful land, full of Indians, wild animals and hard times. There was no electricity, air conditioning, automobiles, or computers. Transportation was on foot or by horse. It took weeks or months to travel the long distances that we now travel in a few hours. If your family wanted to “go west” to find their fortunes, you might have never seen or heard from them again, never knowing whether or not they found those fortunes, had any children, or if they died along the way. They had to make their own candles, weave their own cloth, grow, hunt and kill most of their food supplies. Very few people went to school. Most of the educated held down several jobs, perhaps storekeeper, doctor, and maybe the town lawyer, more or less changing his hat as the day progressed. Those with schooling were the ones who usually prospered, much like in today’s world. When our ancestors came to America, the mode of transportation was already changing. They had large ships and smokey trains. The Civil War had not yet started and slavery was prevalent in the south. Indians lived in teepees, and cowboys walked around with guns on their hips. Today we have computers to help (and complicate) nearly every facet of life.

Soon we will be selling copies of this wonderful family tree to other genealogists, or just people who do know the names of some of their ancestors.  This family tree has all the names of our ancestors below pictures of people in clothing of those periods of time.  We will be able to insert YOUR family in place of ours!  Don’t know yet what we will be charging for them, but keep this in the back of your mind for now until we complete this project.

To reach me:  (please remember I am in California if you call!)  916-783-3617

johnandpatshook@comcast.net for anything related to genealogy