A few months ago I sent a DNA sample off to a service. I’ve done genealogy for years since my late Mother in Law encouraged me to start.  When I first began the journey I knew only my immediate grandparents names.  Three of my four grandparents had already passed away when I was 30.  It seemed an impossible task.  My parents are from the Midwest and while writing and requesting records I found a few relatives that had even more information.  There was no internet then. Type or write a letter, wait for response.  A time consuming process for sure.  Over the years I traced and connected all my family lines back to Europe.  I had a sister in law from one of the countries and she went directly to a church and found family records back hundreds of years.  Our French line is now traced back to the 1500’s.

To make a long story short I thought I had all I would ever find.  UNTIL someone who had also been tested thru that same service requested contact. According to the service there was a high chance we were second cousins.   No one can see your information unless you allow it.  I allowed the message contact and nothing else. We exchanged emails and found out our grandmothers were sisters!  Since then she has put me in touch with her mom and dad.  Her mom and my dad were first cousins.  They have sent me a treasure trove of information.

I have so many pictures from my grandmothers scrapbooks. These scrapbooks were found after my dad passed away. They were in black garbage backs in an outdoor storage shed with lots of water damage.  I salvaged quite a bit including a lock of my dad’s hair.   I am putting them into an album in my FOREVER Storage account. I have made it where they can access my grandmothers photos.  Pictures are labeled with what my grandmother had written and now saved for my kids and other family who want to enjoy them.

So where are your precious photos?  Have you ever thought that the pictures you take today will be tomorrows heirlooms?  How are you ensuring that future generations have your images and who is in those images?  Secure those pictures in a safe place as you enjoy making those memories.


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9 Responses to Blog: Small World with New Found Family

  1. LindaGuth says:

    Thank you so much for your post, I recently go back into genealogy and P2P.
    With he help of internet, I have found several distant relatives and have sent my DNA off to be tested. My Husband and I can trace our roots from when our ancestors came to America in the mid 1800’s, they all were within about a 30 mile radius from where we live. Our families and our girls have always grown up having always known most of our extended family. My girls grew up knowing many of there great-great aunts and uncles. They had my grandfather who passed when they were teenagers, they shared many Sunday dinners with him, they have many fond memories of him.
    We now have our first grandchild, she lives a few states away. she will not grow up knowing all of the extended family that we have had the blessing of knowing all of our lives. I really want to do this book for her and any other grandchildren we may have.
    I am a planner and struggling where to start on the book, I have been documenting on one of the internet sites and I have over a 1000 people in my family tree,, with my primary focus on my fathers line. I can’t possibly get that many in a book, I have not even scratched the surface of what I know, I have been more focused on following some of the leads I have found. I was wondering have you ever done a series on genealogy? ideas how to best layout a book. I think based on the volume of information I have I’m going to have to make 2-4 books, either, my husbands family and mine or one to tracing each of our parents line. My DNA may link me to a whole lot more family members.
    I am going to focus on my direct lines, I will mention a little about each of their children but not go into all of those descendants. Is it OK to list my family tree name and website in have everything documented on in the book? From the website data, it should be there for generations to come.
    I was thinking of doing a book about my life, highlighting my childhood, my parents and siblings, I have so many stories about this generation that I want to share. More than what I would put into a family heritage book with multiple generations. OK now I am planning 6 books with 1 theme but based on different family lines/details levels.
    I have ruff plan but where do you start. Do I focus layout by generation, in most lines I have at least her 7x great grandparents, I think I have photons back to a few of her 5X great grandparents, but with the internet, I may be able to find even more. If I can believe what I have found so far, I have one line that goes back to King Robert the Bruce of Scotland. I find this overwhelming and I think it could take me a year or two to finish my research, but I want to get started on my book now, so I build it as I go.
    Do you have an suggestions to help me get started on my layouts, I would like my books to be similar in layout so they can flow the same in each book, I want them to have a heritage feel them but I think it would be nice to have unique color, digital art kit for each, this allows me to be creative and keeps it interesting for those looking at the books once I complete them. Any suggestions would be nice, what are your top 5 fonts for Heritage albums, kits you recommend, I see that Forever, has a nice bundle for a heritage album, do you have any other recommendations?
    Do you have a tip for restoring old damage photos and how best to do that in Historian? I have some very faded photos I am struggling with. I have a box of old photos on loan from relative that we have no idea who they are, we are trying to connect the dots, but I am afraid many of the photos are 75 to about 100+ years old and we may never know, I’m going to visit one of my grandfathers cousins in few weeks to see if she can help, she is 99 and I think the last living person of that generation. I may end up doing a spread at the end of that family line with all the unidentified photos, I know they are relatives, and I really don’t want them total lost for ever.

    Any suggestions you have would be helpful.

    • Mary says:

      Linda, I did my dads family in one book and mu moms family in another. I went from oldest images to current images. My husbands mom did genealogy for over 50 years so when I tackle that I will put it in the book two ways…oldest to newest images and line by line…so starting a family line by the oldest images I have and moving to current. Then doing next family line oldest to current. In my mind doing all lines together oldest to newest would get confusing. Please remember that this is very personal so you would need to do what makes sense to you. This is just how I would do mine. Look thru Lucky Girl, FOREVER and Paper Tray…they all have beautiful Heritage designs. Wish these had been around when I did my family. At kleast they will be there when I do my husbands family.
      As far as keeping your project easy there are a lot of predesigned pages with a Heritage theme. You would go to FOREVER.COM, click on view all digital art and type in the word Heritage. If you want to use a different color for different sides of the family I would look at the Heritage Florals by Paper Tray studio. Same look but in different colors so your book would flow very well. As far as cloning I would watch a few videos about cloning on our website. You can clone damaged areas away on older photos. It may take a couple tries but it works very well.


  2. adakallen says:

    That is what My daughter and I plan to do with the box of pictures I found in my storage room.

  3. Gail Woodward says:

    I love this post. I too love genealogy and have been working on our family tree for a number of years. I like the idea of nesting albums under the Genealogy name. I have been trying to figure out the best way to organize all the documents and old photos. This definitely deserves consideration. Thanks for your post.

  4. Kari says:

    Very cool! I am in the early processes of working on our families heritage. I am lucky that my sister and daughter are also very interested in tracing our roots. I am heading to our state archives on Tuesday to learn how to access them. Do you have any recommendations on how to set up your storage account to sell your story? I’m doing a presentation on this next week!! Lastly are you doing to do a book? Kari

    • Mary says:

      I have set up an album in my FOREVER Storage account with my grandmothers name. You could set up an album labeled genealogy and the nest an album inside that for each surname. I started genealogy 30 years ago and have already made a digital heritage book with my Artisan 5 software. These extra picture will be safe in my account until I decide what to do with them.

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