People catch the genealogy bug in many ways. For MyHeritage member Chris King (in Georgia, US), it was because of the Girl Scouts.
My daughter, Caitlin, was in Girl Scouts and had to do a family tree of three-to-four generations. I always wanted to know more about where my family was from, but had never thought about doing a family tree. I helped her with the project and together we went back several more generations.
Born Christine Carlton in Paget, Bermuda, in January 1969, Chris' father was in the US Air Force, stationed on the island. Her parents divorced when she was 3, and she, her sister and their mother moved to Georgia, where she grew up. Today she has four children and a step-daughter. She and her husband have been together for 12 years and married for nine, with six grandchildren and another on the way.
Since those early days, Chris has found family in Florida and Tennessee, illegitimate children, and traced a line back to England. She’s been faced with many brick walls and hopes to break through them.
I have traced my father's ancestry back to England back to the 1500s. The surname spelling has changed from Carleton to Carlton. We have a legal stamp used in cattle-raising that is still in use today. There were several family members in the military and some of the English ancestors were "Sir" and "Sire."
My family surnames on both sides are Davis, Carlton, Rice, Foley, Rhodes, Tompkins, Pritchard, Oswald, Johnson, Dugan, Carlisle, Bryant, Saffold, Taylor, Neely, Albritton and Adams. If anyone has any relation or information on these names, please, let me know @firstname.lastname@example.org.
On her mother’s paternal side, it has been harder to trace. Over the years, she has connected with others working on the Davis family. My grandmother was a Rice, but I am stuck trying to find relatives past her father, Thomas Anderson Rice, and her mother, a Thompkins. The spelling could have changed over the years.
My grandfather was named for his father, William “Willy” Davis, whose grandparents were Jacob Henry Davis and Effie Ann Walters. I discovered that Jacob was an illegitimate son of Jacob and Susanna Davis (who eventually married David Oswald, and had two children, Benjamin and Rachael). She also had two sons with Jacob: Joseph T. and Henry H.
Chris wants to know where Jacob Rhodes came from, who his parents were, where he grew up and what his life was like. Where did he come from before he purchased land in Robeson County, North Carolina? Why did he have several illegitimate children with so many different women after the age of 50? What did he know about his ancestors?
Chris joined MyHeritage around 2007.
I like that I can see other family trees and possibly meet some of the people who created those trees; that I can go in and see how the tree branches and I can follow family lines easily and clearly. The tree was easy to set-up and create, and I can print it out.
We asked Chris if her family was also involved.
My two youngest children are involved and interested in following the family tree. When I find something new, they get just as excited as I do.
Chris has more than 250 people in her tree. Relatives live in Florida, Georgia, South and North Carolina. Although she knows Richard Rhodes moved to Texas, she hasn't traced much of his family from there. She’s found his gravestone, but hasn't tried to follow that branch.
As far as unknown or long-lost relatives, she’s found Carlton cousins in Florida. She has emailed one and become Facebook friends. Another possible Davis cousin was found through Facebook, but she’s still trying to find the connection. Another has emailed Chris and they have also become Facebook friends.
Another distant Davis cousin has helped tremendously with the Davis family line. He’s the one that sent me the transcription of Jacob Rhodes’ will.
The main story Chris is stuck on now is trying to learn more about Jacob Rhodes, his life and his ancestors.
The main experience I would like for others to have is the joy of finding the mysteries in the family links. Finding the names, birthdates and birthplaces are great but finding the personal stories behind the names is even more interesting.
Chris shares her tips for beginners:
- Don't give up.
- When I find new links, it's like finding a new piece of a puzzle that wasn't visible before. It is an amazing thing to be able to trace our ancestors and find out who these people were and what their lives were like.
Did you enjoy Chris' story? If you have a story to share about your own genealogical journey, let us know at email@example.com.