Wednesday, August 31, 2011

How and when I got into genealogy

When genealogists meet, they often ask each other: "When did you get interested in your family history?"

I have always been interested in where I came from. As a child, my mother said that we were 100% Irish on our father's side. But on our mother's side, we were Bohemian (Czechoslovakian) and Greek. Every St. Patrick's Day, my mother would give me a green carnation.

I really began to research my history in 1999 when I re-connected with my paternal uncle and aunt. Uncle Pat told me that my grandmother's maiden name (birth surname) was Kreis or Kries. And my great grandmother's maiden name was Carney or Kearney. And that's all I had to go on.

In the last 12 years, I have made a few strides in documenting the history of my family. And I have had several surprises! Through research, I have shed some light on a few family stories that turned out to be myths:
  1. All of our family has been born in and lived in Chicago, IL for many, many generations.
  2. Chicago is the first place our ancestors settled in after they landed here.
  3. We are Yankees through and through.
  4. Our heritage is Irish, Bohemian and Greek. And that's all.
  5. Our surname is Spears.
I will be discussing these myths and how they were busted in future posts.

I have uncovered a lot of information on my ancestors in the last few years, but like many genealogists, I have run into brick walls that I still need to break through. However, I am confident that with the support of other researchers, with perseverance, and with diligent search of records, I will round out my family tree.

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