The requirements for this award are that I list ten surprising, humbling or enlightening things that I've learned about my ancestors and that I then give this award to ten other people.
Here are ten things I have learned about my ancestors so far:
- Surprising - Family tradition stated that my great-grandfather (the one who served in World War One) lost both of his parents at a young age; however, the tradition did not mention the names of his parents or how they died. Until I discovered the names of his parents in his birth record and the name of his father in his marriage record, I did not know anything about them other than what was passed down in the family, and with the information that I obtained, I discovered that someone had posted some information on my great-great-grandparents on the Family Search website. (Obviously, I've been confirming the information I found.) Once I had the death dates for my great-grandfather's parents, I was able to get someone to look up the records for me, and later I was able to view the documents for myself on Scotland's People. From the death record, I learned that my great-great-grandfather had died in a freak accident. Of course, that was quite shocking to me, especially since the death record gave some details as how my ancestor had died. (I haven't looked yet, but I think I should look and see if there was an inquest on his death as the death record was updated a year after the original entry. Does anyone know if inquest records from the 1890s in Scotland still exist?)
- Surprising - Discovering that one of great-great-grandfathers had been married at least three times. When I first started my research, I learned that this ancestor had been married twice, but until I actually did research at the St. Joseph County, Michigan's Clerk office, neither my grandpa or I knew that he had been married to another woman prior to our female ancestor. Additionally, the discovery of that first wife's death after two months of marriage and the cause of death was a bit of shock as well. (Of course, I still haven't found the marriage record for the third marriage, although census records and family stories point to my ancestor's remarriage after his second wife's death.)
- Surprising - Discovering that my ancestor, Christoph Friedrich Cotta (Jr.), participated in the French Revolution. The family tree that had been done on the Cotta line did not mention anything about the French Revolution, from what I can remember. Of course, the tree is in German, so I could have missed something, but I am still slowly confirming everything on that family tree.
- Surprising - Learning from secondary sources, the names of Christoph Cotta's maternal grandparents, and that his maternal grandmother had been a famous opera singer in her time. Even more surprising, that she was thrown in jail for eight years by the Duke of Würrtemberg.
- Surprising - Finding the World War One military records for another one of my great-grandfathers. Well, what was surprising was the information in the records, but I'll leave the findings for another post.
- Humbling - Uncovering and learning about the hardships that some of my ancestors experienced in their lives.
- Enlightening - Discovering that Gelnhausen, Germany's church records are online, and being able to find and confirm information that I have on my Kees ancestors.
- Surprising and Enlightening - Ordering Benjamin Oswalt's Civil War Pension file, and reading some of the information in the testimonies.
- Surprising - Finding a deed for a piece land in St. Joseph County, Michigan that my ancestor, Peter Stout, had bought while in California.
- Surprising and Enlightening - Finding the naturalization records for one of my ancestor's brothers, and then finding the declaration of intention for his father, my ancestor. I wrote about those discoveries here.