“a record or account of the ancestry and descent of a person, family, group, etc.”

Over the past 20 years or so I’ve been researching my family tree, I’ve dispelled long held family myths about Native American heritage, found distant uncles buried overseas from WWI, and uncovered the occasional family secret that nobody ever talked about.

Here I will share some of my findings for my direct ancestral lines.

Getting Started

The best advice I can offer anyone looking to build out their family tree is to talk with your parents and grandparents. They are an invaluable source of information, and it is infinitely easier to ask them questions now rather than digging through old photos and letters once they have passed. If you can, record their stories of growing up, how they met their spouse, and started their families.

The next piece of advice I have relates to online ancestry sites. Never blindly accept any ‘hints’ that may pop up on family tree websites, unless you are able to fully research the hint & verify that it applies to your family. It takes about 5 minutes to ‘discover’ that you are linked to someone who has a family tree going back to the 1200s and has several monarchs.

Finally, document everything you do find & verify. Even if it’s just a page/line number notation somewhere, or a URL to something you found. You will inevitably hit roadblocks, and need to step away from whichever line you are tracing. Leaving yourself notes in addition to any content you have found will make it much easier to pick up where you left off, and it will provide a citation trail for anyone you may share your tree with.

  • Chet Letters – June 20, 1952

    Pusan Betty & June, I’m here and all I can say is its no damn good for anything, you’ve got to see it to believe it. This mess is more senseless every day that I stay here and the g**k government is a itchiban(?) SOB same as that big Mo. mule in DC. The last…

  • Chet Letters – June 16, 1952

    USNS Aiken Victory Betty & June & Wendy Here we are halfway between Pusan and Sasebo so we will be in Korea in the morning. It is damn awfully hot around Sasebo, but I don’t know what its like in Pusan, never been there before. How are things back home? Catching many fish or what?…

  • Chet Letters – June 11, 1952

    Dear kids: What the hell is the idea of opening the season so earl this year, too many fish in the lakes or what? B????? is lucky not going to Korea with the First Division but then not all of them go in any outfit. Terry is getting off with seven months and that is…