This is not a plug for Ancestry.com, but man is it cool! I joined originally because Mr. Soup wanted information on his grandfather. His race, ethnicity, and actual birth date are all in question. Back in those days, there were not accurate records on children who were adopted, let alone minorities in general.
I have hit the same brick wall with my dad's family. I have only been able to trace it back two generations. I even have quite a few names and dates, but not a lot of information. I did, however, see my grandfather's WWI draft card (yes, WWI....my grandfather was born in 1898 and he was in his 50's when my father was born) Very cool to see his signature on it! He was 19 at the time. I also saw the 1930 census record for FL where my grandmother was living with her parents. Very weird to see the word "NEGRO" written next to their names. A sign of the times, I guess.
I've come to the following conclusion: If you are any sort of minority, you will have trouble with ancestry.com I have Native American blood on both sides of my family and struggled to find accurate information. My maternal great-great-grandfather was adopted by a white family as a child, so I have no idea what his original last name was.
Despite this, I have found tons of information on certain sides of my mom's family. Just like I suspected we're that Euro white-trash mix (I say that lovingly)! Most of my family immigrated from England or Ireland with a sprinkling of folks from Scotland (although I'm still trying to figure out how we have a French last name in our family -- Boucher is French for butcher). They came by way of Canada (and some through the traditional Ellis Island) and settled in states like Michigan, Ohio, Iowa,etc. They eventually made their way to Kansas to farm the new land, as Kansas did not become a state until 1861. I'm still debating whether I want to sign up for the International version. I signed up for the national version, because I highly doubted that I would find that many people from Europe in my family. I was naive to think we just came from Kansas! I guess everyone comes from some place else, right?
Okay, so you all know that I'm a name-whore. I love, love, love classic names. I think most names today sound made-up. I fell in love with some of the names from both sides of my family. I wonder why people go to the trouble of finding yoo-neek (this is my term for people who give their kids not only made-up names, but ridiculous spellings), when we have such beautiful classic names. I don't care what the background is--Irish (Gaelic), English, African, Hawaiian, Arabic--there are beautiful, classic names within each culture (soapbox). I thought I'd share some of my family's names. Most people did not have middle names, but double first names were common then.
Katie Belle (usually I'm not a fan of Katie as a stand alone name --I prefer Katherine or Kathleen--but I thought this name was too cute!! Love the name Belle)
Even though I don't have as much information as I want to pass down to Abby and JT, I still got some valuable information and a sense of pride. When I get frustrated with a student whose parents' don't speak English, I'll think about my ancestors who risked it all to immigrate here. Somehow they made it and our growing family tree with descendants who continue to accomplish so much is proof. Hopefully, this current generation will make it too.
In honor of my Irish heritage (explains why my hair turns red in the summer), Happy St.Patrick's Day! Drink some green beer for me!