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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Do It Yourself, If Possible
If you have ancestors in Shelby County, you have probably experienced the same thing that happens to me whenever I go back home. You mention your ancestor's name and the next thing you hear is "I'm related to him / her, too!" And before you know it, you have a new cousin and a whole new chapter is added to your family tree.

This happens to me every time I return to the Shelbyville "Genie House". Last summer, I met new cousins from the Steward family and the Sanders family. Going back to Shelby County to do my research is the best way to find new information AND new family members. We swap information, photos, and family stories. We go to lunch or dinner, then continue our relationship long after we return to our far-away homes using email and telephone. The experience is life- altering.

If you watch any of the genealogy shows on tv, you know how important "on site" research is. There is nothing like standing on the land that your ancestors owned in the 1800s (or earlier, depending on where they lived). Or finding that long-lost grave stone with the dates still readable -- David Hendricks born 5 Sept. 1788 died 16 March 1859. The experience of walking through the old Brandywine (Pinhook) Cemetery near Fairland is especially memorable for me. The first time I went (over 25 years ago), my Grandma Ofa Steward Williams was with me. She told me stories about many of the people in the old cemetery (many were her family members) -- it will always stay in my heart.

As you can tell, I am an advocate of the "do it yourself" type of research. There is nothing like it. Especially if your ancestors lived in Shelby County, Indiana!