Sunday, December 30, 2012

How far do you go?

So now that the holidays are over and life has calmed down a bit I have finally found some time to work on my genealogy research again.  This has brought up it's own set of problems and questions.  How far do you go?  I'm currently working on the Meeks family tree, my maternal grandfather.  Of course you always want to trace your ancestry as far back as possible, but how far sideways & forward do you go?  For example, my family tree on Ancestry has exploded with hints for the descendants of my great-great grandfather's sister.  My great-great grandfather only had 2 siblings, a younger brother and a younger sister, only one of whom had children.  But it still begs the question, how far do you go?  Do you trace her lineage down as far as you can, or do you just include her, her children, and her grandchildren?

Part of me wants to stop at her children, so I don't add any more to my already full genealogical plate.  The other part of me, the part that needs to join Genealogists Anonymous, just wants to know everything out there that I can possibly get my fingers on.  I feel like the further down I trace her lineage the better chance I have of going back.  Tracing her life down to her grand-kids might actually give me the ability to find out some really cool stuff.  Or at the very least maybe uncover some family photos.

So that my friends, is the question of the night on my genealogical quest.  How far do you go?  How far have you all taken your family trees?  Do you think you shouldn't have gone as far as you did, or do you wish you had gone further?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Why I do what I do

I realized today that I haven't written in my blog in quite some time.  I apologize for being absent for so long; as I'm sure is the case for many of you, this time of year seems to fly by before you even realize it's over.  I haven't been keeping up with my genealogy research as much as I would like to lately.  Once October hits I am kind of in decorating mode.  First it's Halloween, which I must admit is my all time favorite holiday and I take a ton of pride in my decorations so I spent the whole darn month wrapped up in that, and before I knew it Halloween was over.  Then you move on to Thanksgiving and everything that goes with that. Now it's Christmas. I know it's only the 11th, but this month is packed.  First I have my parents annual Holiday Party this Friday, which I must say I look forward to every year.  Since I still live at home I try to help as  much as possible to make the prep load less for my parents.  So all that being said I'm going to write a brief blog entry to night about why I do genealogy research and hopefully as 2013 rolls around I will have more time for research and keep this thing better updated.  Bear with me, as it may get a little emotional.

Believe it or not I don't necessarily do all this genealogy research for me.  This all started long before I can even remember with my paternal grandfather, Robert Panfil.  My grandfather unfortunately passed away when I was 9.5 years old so I've never gotten to share all this with him.  I think though, that I do it for him.  He's the reason I got interested in my family history.  He was interested in it an had spent time writing to family members and compiling what he could into a family tree, and now I've taken up his hobby.  I think part of the reason I push so much with my research is because it gives me a connection to a man I didn't get to know as much as I would have liked.  Through my research I can see what his life might have been like when he was a child and learn things about his parents and grandparents that I don't have the ability to ask him.  As amazing as all of that it, it's so hard at the same time.  It brings up so many unanswered questions and so many things I'd love to be able to sit down and talk to my grandfather about.

Lately I've grown to realize what an amazing gift my grandfather has given me.  He's opened my eyes to a hobby and a passion I never knew I had and I only wish I could tell him how grateful I am.  Not only that but he has given me the opportunity to create a stronger bond with my maternal grandfather, Carl Meeks.  For whatever reason, as a child I felt much closer to my father's parents, especially my grandfather.  My grandpa Meeks and I never had the kind of relationship I had with my grandpa Panfil.  But now, thanks to genealogy research, we've gotten closer.  Being able to see the look in your grandfather's eyes when you can tell him names of people he never knew he was related to is so amazing.

So in short, that's why I do what I do.  Not just because I'm innately curious about where my ancestors have come from, but because it's given my a connection to both my grandfather's that I never had before.

Happy Holidays Genealogists!

My grandfather, Robert Panfil, and I.  Around 1989