Thursday, April 23, 2009

Coming of age

I began college at the onset of the rise of the internet. I remember as a freshman getting my first email account and playing with a new program called Internet Explorer. Soon all the tv commercials included a plug for their new website. It was the dawn of a new era and changed the world of commerce (and genealogy) forever.

But life and college got in the way of my various starts at research. I graduated, married, started my professional career and spent a great deal of time studying for a professional licensing exam. Still I had this feeling that I needed to start searching for answers. Looking back, I think the biggest time I wondered about my family history was when I was preparing to get married and change my name. I should have been changing it from McNeill, but I wasn't. And why not?

About a year after my husband and I married, we visited with my paternal grandmother. During that visit, we spent a lot of time talking about my late grandfather. She told me the few things that she knew about his past that he had told her about and then what she had learned after his death. I acquired copies of some family group charts, a typewritten family tree that my great-grandfather prepared, and a name of a cousin that she had corresponded with more than 10 years prior. I headed home and to the internet......

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