A number of friends seem to be addicted to the games you can play competitively on Facebook. Others play bridge on the internet with real people. The number of games that adults can play on the computer are seemingly endless. I do several of them each morning just to see how sharp I am that day, but I don't usually sit and play them to see if I can beat someone or get a higher score than I did before. And, so, my internet time is spent more often in looking at new yarns and patterns and following chatter on knitting and crochet groups to discover new ideas.
However - perhaps I should put that in all caps - HOWEVER, Thursday evening we watched Jeopardy as our first TV program since returning from Baja California, and we didn't immediately turn it off after the program was over. Suddenly, I am caught up in this African American dude, a former football star, tracing his genealogy, and he used Ancestry.com at one point. Bad move for me.
So, we tired of that quickly and I moved to my computer where the first thing I did was to examine Ancestry.com. I was immediately addicted. Now this football star was also out interviewing people and looking at cemeteries and hiring good help in his search. I'm online and being amazed at what I can find. This is like a puzzle, and I do love puzzles.
First you put in what information you know. If you can get back before 1930, all the better. Then, the program begins giving you clues - places where that name is found in census records on file up to 1900, marriage records from many states, and more usually, other people's research and public family trees. A little green leaf appears with each "hint".
So, I entered some family information that I remembered (lots more is written down somewhere in my files and stored for safekeeping, LOL). I got several little green leaves, and I clicked on them. As I reviewed the information, I discovered what my grandmother's birth name probably was - she changed it somewhere before Social Security began. I had always heard that here birth name was something like Pamelia; presto, her grandmother was Permelia. Other family records listed her as M. Permelia - so, now I have my grandmother's birth name. Incidentally, she was called Mae most of her life.
I keep clicking on these little green leaves and following people from Maryland, briefly through Virginia, and into North Carolina and Georgia. I can see when they moved from Georgia into Mississippi. I can also see how many brothers and sisters died before they were a year old. I remember lots of little graves in our old family cemetery. And, now I can connect with who they were. I had little interest when we were there. All I wanted then was to see the tombstone for the man who had his amputated arm buried. We used to race to see who could find the graves of both the arm and the man to whom it had belonged.
Tonight as I wait for my antihistamine to work, I don't dare go to that website. Thursday night moved into Friday morning before I finally went to bed at 2 am. I lost most of Friday in sleep and more time on Ancestry.com. I am addicted to following those little green leaves. And, when they run out, I can take names that are apparently dead ends and look for clues in census, birth, marriage records. For instance, Mary Dozier Vick, born in 1775 seems to have no family records on this particular website. So, I began looking for the name Dozier in the area where she was born - lots of them, but all the Marys were married to people whose names I didn't recognize, and few of them had parents listed. But, I dutifully traced the parents of those possibilities until I determined that none of them belonged to my Mary Dozier Vick. My great-grandfather was Nathan Dozier Skelton; so I'm pretty sure that Mary is an ancestor and that Dozier is a family name.
I found pictures of tombstones in Mt. Pleasant cemetery, wherever that is, and census records and lots of people who are related distantly. However, I know I can add lots of data in some places because my Mom kept writing down names and dates and places and spouses and children. She would love this program absolutely - unfortunately, so does her daughter. I am addicted to this puzzle.
Some family names fade away - Skelton is probably a derivative of Shelton - and they fit the Irish/Scottish background that my grandfather Skelton claimed. Ralph Shelton, an Irishman, married a Scottish girl, and their son changed his name to Skelton - possibly due to poor handwriting. My uncle was Ralph Skelton, an echo to an Irishman who may have been our ancestor.
So, what does all this mean for me. I have to ration my time on this website, but, like the football star, I'm discovering more about who I am and what traits I have (like moving around a lot)that may have been inherited from long-dead ancestors. Do I know who I am? Probably not. Does it matter? Probably not. But, the puzzle is fun. Maybe I'll go cemetery trekking one day. And, maybe I'll find Mom's notes someday.