A Surplus of Surnames

I’ve been climbing my family tree since the days of writing letters and reading microfiche.


And while I’m still interested in dead people, in 2015 I focused less on the ones related to me [1] and more on those buried in various Midwest cemeteries [2].

Which means my ancestors have been gathering dust. Well not them exactly, but the files of genealogy related records I gathered in their names. [Technically speaking, my ancestors really have been gathering dust, but I digress.]

My aging brain cells are gathering dust too. What if I forget the family stories I uncovered along the way?

This time of year I am usually inspired to review my charts and adjust my sails. So what’s the 2016 plan Stan?

Well…since the downsizing adventure LESS STUFF has become my mantra. Passing along the information I gathered to the next generation of family history researchers is a giant part of my new year’s goals. Once I’ve organized the data and shared the stories, that’s what I’m going to do.

2014 12-05 1 watermarked

To keep myself on task, while I clean up my family history files I’ll share those stories here on Surname Saturdays.

So please join me as I post cousin bait – maybe we’ll find out we’re related!


[1] Surnames in my family tree include Adam, Åman, Bettinger, Carlson, Christian, Clarin, Clark/e, Ersson, Grosse, Gury, Helleringer, Houpert, Jonasson, Joughin, Landstrom, Larson, Littrell, Mangels, Morland, Mueller, Peterson, Ridenour, Schmitt, Shank, Shartzer, Thompson, Tolf and Walton.

[2] In 2015 I visited 30+ cemeteries and took thousands of headstone pictures for Find A Grave.

4 thoughts on “A Surplus of Surnames

  1. I have that speedbump problem too. Sigh. To be ghoulish, one of my sadnesses this year about the death of a first cousin once removed, age 52, was that she was the most interested of the next generation. Another first cousin once removed, who is nearly that interested, and even younger, actually lives at the moment less than 100 miles from where my g grandfather was b. in Norway. She reads and speaks Norwegian and Icelandic, which is very similar to Old Norse, which some of the records are in. However, she’s working, raising 3 kids, and working on a PhD full time! Almost never has a moment to breathe, let alone to do genealogy. Her hope is that she will, someday. But who knows where a job, once she’s done with school, will take her.

    Sometimes I wonder why I do this, as I have no children. My ancestors and their worlds fascinate me, that’s why!

    My brother, only 2 years younger, is the most interested, and one first cousin. Nobody else has shown any interest at all. So far, anyway. I think you’re right, Laura. I just have to put things in order, and hope.


  2. The problem is finding out who in the next generation is interested in the family genealogy. There tends to be one person in each generation – the rest are not at all interested. Luckily my niece is interested in our family history, but I don’t think she realizes the volume of material she will be getting. Good luck with your handoff!


    • Ah yes, that little speedbump. 🙂 One of my grandchildren is showing a mild interest and a nephew recently started asking family history-type questions. But I know there is a real possibility that no one currently alive will want (as you so succinctly put it) “the volume of material” I have accumulated over the past 30 years.

      But if I post it here and/or compile it in such a way that I can donate it to a historical society, perhaps a great-great grandchild will find it someday.

      I’m also motivated by not wanting to leave my research as it is for whomever might find it…’cause ya know…who would want to clean up that mess?!?


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