Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Patriots in the Family and My Latest Obsession with Ancestry.com

Patriots in the Family and My Latest Obsession with Ancestry.com

At least 20 years ago my dad provided me with most of the documentation necessary to seek membership in the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). Naturally, I put the packet of documents in a file somewhere and can’t find where I stored it throughout my many moves. Really, I am confident the file is in a box in the basement, or in my office or closet or misfiled in a cabinet.  Fortunately, the wonders of the Internet have saved me the angst of pawing through those dusty boxes.

For some reason last weekend, after I’d tired of hand sewing and harvesting even more rocks for the garden, I decided to search the DAR website for the 37th time trying to locate my great aunt’s membership records and the qualifying patriots. I did recall that my father’s cousin had done some research while living in Germany and did find that file rather easily. A few strokes of the QWERTY keyboard and I’d opened the door to another world.

It wasn’t the discovery that I had not one but six qualifying ancestors that triggered my latest obsession. No, it was finding that one of my ancestors guarded British prisoners of war here in Winchester, Virginia – my current home. The object of my interest was born and raised in Loudoun County. Wow! That really caused my heart to race. What accident of fate (or was it serendipity?) brought me at the conclusion of a long and arduous road through life from Indiana to Texas to Taiwan and Hong Kong to Delaware and Maryland and finally to this place that served as the earliest American home of my father’s ancestral family? Another of our patriot ancestors served the Revolutionary cause in Rockingham County, Virginia- one of the most naturally beautiful places on earth - as Justice of the Peace.

So I was infected with the bug. Immediately, I began searching for the reviews of genealogical online websites. Ultimately, there was no comparison. Ancestry.com provided the widest range of searches- albeit at a price. But seriously, if this search for family history occupies me sufficiently, I won’t be scouring websites for shoes. All in all, the $19.99 per month for US based searches is a good deal. No doubt, I’ve already saved enough not buying shoes to pay for a full year’s subscription!  

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