October is family history month, so start yours today

Published 9:15 am Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pat Mulso, Preserving the Past

Did you know that October is Family History Month? How fitting for the month when we took our trip to Salt Lake City. I believe everyone considered it a successful research trip. I was able to add more than 22 sets of great-grandparents to my pedigree chart. In some lines I have 14 generations from my great-grandchildren back to their 11th great-grandparents. Each generation that you go back the number of sets of grand-parents double. So by the time you get to the eighth great-grandparents there are 512 sets of grandparents in that generation. Isn’t that amazing? For me that spans 410 years, from 1600 to 2010. So far I have 75 different direct surnames. That sounds like it would be very confusing, but if you have it on a pedigree chart, it’s really very easy to follow.

Pat Mulso

By the middle of the research week I headed for the international area and spoke with a helper who was able to help me find the German church records where my second, third, fourth and fifth great-grandparents had attended church and been baptized. How cool is that? I had no idea how to read German, but by the time we had to leave, I was getting pretty proficient at picking out my surnames and deciphering the child’s name, parents and sponsors.

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I also went through some of the civil records and found births, deaths and marriages of some of my German lines. Adding siblings to information that I already had will give me new leads and help me to possibly fill in gaps as I follow up on the new leads. So far my family lines are predominately from various parts of Germany, but I also have lines from France, Holland and England. I have lines that were in America by the mid- to late 1600s and though I think most of them will probably be from somewhere in Germany, that is yet to be found.

Being a genealogist is somewhat like being a detective. And each clue that you uncover can lead you in a new direction. I have been a genealogist for over 44 years, and I still get excited with each new generation I find and each new clue that leads me in a new direction. Having information written on charts helps you to be organized and helps you to see where you are missing information. This helps you to determine where and what you want to look for next.

Besides just the vital records, newspapers, census, county histories, and wills, other sources help you to learn about the life of your ancestor. What their occupations were, where they lived, how many were in their families etc. These sources help you to build the stories of their lives.

What do you want your future family generations to know about you? Now is your opportunity to write your story and share your history with them as you preserve your family history. Whether it is a paragraph or two or a book, believe me they will cherish it, if you write it.

Soon we will have our next Library Lock-In and it is full, but we are taking names for the next one that will be held probably in January. So if you are interested in getting one on one help with your family research, please call us at 373-8003 and get your name on the list for the next Library Lock-In.

The museum will host one more four-hour AARP refresher defensive driving class this year. It will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 16, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. The cost is $19, and you must pre-register. So if you need that certificate before the end of the year, please call us in the next two weeks to get signed up for this class. We will post our schedule for next year as soon as the dates are set.

Our annual Christmas event will be on Sunday, Dec. 5, from 4 to 7 p.m. Watch for details in the near future.

Pat Mulso is the executive director of the Freeborn County Historical Museum in Albert Lea.