John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States. He was the youngest President voted into office and was inaugurated January 20, 1961 a few months before his 44th birthday. President Kennedy's idealism and youthful spirit rallied the country together during a very tumultous political and international landscape; the cold war, threats of nuclear war, and raising racial tensions. To demonstrate this point, a famous quote from his Inaugural Address "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man". These words have resonated throughout history and continue to inspire today's society. I think our world would be a better place if more people took the time to look into history for lessons and inspiration.
"The ancestor of every action is a thought." Ralph Waldo Emerson
I am constantly mapping out family trees, it really helps me visualize and understand who I am researching. In the beginning regular paper worked OK for these diagrams, but as my search expanded I found it harder and harder to keep it all organized. I started buying larger paper and even taping pages together, which lead to more and more diagrams.
Then one day it hit me: WRAPPING PAPER
I just happened to be going through some storage bins when I saw rolls of wrapping paper and it's white never ending canvas!! Ever since I have been using the back of wrapping paper to map out many generations all in once space. Seeing all the lines together gives such a unique perspective. This particular tree is in it's 2nd version, after a few weeks of research the first got a little messy.
The tree starts with Joel and Harriet Wright, my GGGG Grandparents from Bordentown, NJ. Wright is a very common surname and there are like 10 standard first names found in every family. This large tree is an excellent research tool for keeping my sanity with all the Joseph's, John's, Anna's, and Mary's.
Joel and Harriet had 4 daughters and 2 sons 1812-1826 and after working on this tree I have realized that my Wright line is almost extinct! This probably explains my wild goose chases within the Wright surname. I used a red marker for women and their descending lines without the Wright surname and a blue marker for males and their descendants with the Wright surname. This family had many who moved to Philadelphia and I wanted to keep track of each line's migration. To show the state they were born and died in, I marked a corresponding colored dot under their birth/death year. Another piece of information I decided to include was burial information, a star next to a death year means I know where they are buried.
It's cheap, you can buy recycled, and it's easily folded or rolled up for easy storage. 'Tis the season for purchasing discounted wrapping paper, just make sure it's white on the underside!
Do you have a special tip or unusual item you swear by for genealogy research??
Updated on January 16, 2011 at 11:17PM by abbyb
After enjoying the first season of NBC's Who Do You Think You Are, I am very excited to announce the season 2 premiere Friday January 21, 2011 at 8pm! If you missed the first season you can watch full episodes and access a bunch of research information from their website. Updates for the new season!
Proven true in recent media, the remnants of a relationship are hard to delete thanks to wonderful technology saving allllll the juicy details. When it comes to researching your pre-computer-internet ancestors, finding a letter, a signature, or writing on the back of a picture; little snippits of their handwriting and thoughts are PRICELESS. Living in a world with instant 24/7 access to anything, it's hard to believe the amount information we've lost.
When I was a not-so-desperate-newbie genie I sifted through documents and pictures from an old box of stuff from my parents. It was hard to start my search in an organized way with a vast array of information from different family lines. One of my first projects was to organize, transcribe, and preserve a series of letters from my Great Grandfather Wentworth Middleton to my Great Grandmother Edith Shaw Middleton. The letters start in 1914 while they dated and end in 1924 married for 8 years. Wentworth had to travel out of town for his job with The Crucible Steel Company for weeks at a time and during the summers Edith would go down the jersey shore. My father rememebers Edie as a "family historian" of sorts and I'm so thankful these letters found their way to me, I will save them!
The letters weren't organized well and I spent many hours squinting and examining the loose pages and envelopes. I absolutely love Wentworth's beautiful writing, but it did take some effeort to learn his style. In all there are 28 letters and they are one of my most treasured items. I spent hours transcribing the original documents to digital format. Once printed the transcriptions were put in acid free plastic inserts with the orginal letter and envelope behind. A great way to enjoy and preserve these pieces of history.
I want to inspire you to break out that box and see what stories you have to preserve. You don't have to read or transcribe every document to make the first step. This could be a great family activity for post thanksgiving dinner (or pre dinner if your bird just won't cook!). There's probably a dormant genie in your family just waiting for some motivation.