Genealogical Research

A Rose By Any Other name

A Rose By Any Other name (Photo credit: ian boyd)

You may want to include information about ancestors in your memoir. But beware. Genealogy can be a time consuming and somewhat addictive hobby, so understand what you want to achieve with the research before wading in.
If you already have information about your ancestors that can be easily summarized and it is relevant to the story you want to tell, by all means use it. But think about how it will fit with your carefully thought out purpose for your memoir. You have carefully thought about what you want to achieve with this memoir, haven’t you? And remember, this is a book about you and not about your ancestors.

 

If you don’t know anything about most of your ancestors the Internet is a good place to start. After a trip to England during which I learned that the area around Westminster Cathedral was called the Isle of Thorns, and knowing that I had English connections on my father’s side, I went online to see where the name Thornburg came from. Through an interlibrary loan I was lucky enough to find a book written by a man who had traced my family all the way back to before the Norman Conquest in eleventh century England and all the way forward to my grandfather’s brother.

I didn’t find any connection with the Isle of Thorns but there was a town with a lot of thorn bushes where the earliest Thornburgs originated. One of the first was known as William of Thorn. I could now brag that I traced my relatives all the way back to Anglo Saxon England and it took minimal effort on my part. Now that’s the kind of genealogical research that I like. The kind that someone else does.

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