Welcome to my Blog. I don’t think you ever get to the end of genealogy. Plenty of brick walls present themselves and the goal of any researcher’s work is to, brick by brick, tear down those walls and find the records and details that allow you to create a picture of who your family was and what kind of life they lived before you came along.

Like any genealogist, I wish I got the bug for this when all my grandparents were alive and I could have asked them the questions that nobody has the answers to now.  I see that sentence written over and over again on all the web pages and genealogy social media groups I am on. It’s the common grievance of all genealogists, yet serves as the driving force to keep us searching. For perhaps that next document will have some little clue beyond just a date and location.

I hope you will find my missives on this genealogical journey entertaining and enlightening.

October 15, 2018

And Yes, I Do Need Money

Like any hobby or passion, there can be enormous expenses involved in it’s pursuit. I have paid for numerous DNA tests so that I can build a base of “known cousins” in order to find and match lost branches. I have paid for books, monthly fees to records databases, hosting and building this website, etc. I don’t expect any compensation for this and I guess I am grateful my hobby has a reasonable financial outlay compared to something like collecting Faberge eggs, mountain climbing in the Himalayas or other exotic pursuits. What I do want to share with you, and hopefully enroll your support in, is a new project I just started. Eager to find information about my mysterious grandfather Harry Spiel and his brother Morris, I’ve setup a project through JewishGen.org to transliterate the 14 documents I have so far received from a Ukrainian archive after purchasing them a […]
October 10, 2018

Not All Your Cousins Are Happy to Hear From You

When I first started doing DNA testing and connecting the dots of my new cousins I had visions of the kind of family reunions you read about in Women’s Day. 100 people with matching family T-shirts grilling hot dogs and eating watermelon in a big park somewhere. Bulletin boards cluttered with family photos and three-legged sack races. Well, it didn’t take long to peel the rose-colored layer off my glasses. Not everyone was happy to hear from me. Many people with strong DNA matches never responded to  my inquiries. I guess it’s a “thing” to get your DNA tested and see what percentage of you is Irish, never mind actually following up on who you might be related to. After sending an email to a second cousin who it took me months to locate, his wife told him that my email was spam and that I was probably looking for […]
September 30, 2018

How This All Got Started

As I mentioned on the home page of this website, I have been working on my family’s genealogy for at least 10 years now, but I didn’t get really serious about it until this past year. I’m not sure I can point to this as the reason, but I think the loss of both my parents played a large part in my turn toward the tree.  After caring for them for so many years, I felt  unmoored with their departures. My sense of family felt disconnected. We were a small family. My father was an only child, and my mother had one brother who died several years before her, leaving only one son.  I made an effort to  better know the cousins that I already had relationships with, and I started looking at that research again. The DNA tests I did on my parents were yielding emails from people wanting […]