Friday, March 07, 2008


Yup, that's me with my big brother, Bill

I am and have been for 40 years a genealogist. I'm addicted to finding my roots. It all started over 50 years ago when my Dad's cousin, Eliza, introduced me to my Brooks/Dye/Sayers ancestors. She gave me pictures. She gave me heirlooms. She gave me jewelry. And, she set in motion what would become a hobby, a passion, and a wonderful way to relate to history. Years later, soon after my dad died, I went to visit his brother and sister in law, my Uncle Earl and Aunt Geneva. Aunt Geneva had been tracing her genealogy and took me to the local library in San Angelo, Texas where they lived. I had very little to go on but found an article in a DAR magazine tracing the John Dye family back to the 1600's to a man named Laurens Duyts. This was my line. John Dye was my great great grandfather. And so it began.

My grandfather, my Aunt Maxine, my mother, and my grandmother.

I dragged Mr. Snowbird through more courthouses, libraries, and cemeteries than he cares to remember. I spent what seemed like a thousand dollars in dimes photocopying articles, books, court records, pictures etc. I traveled to Salt Lake City twice to their HUGE genealogy library. I wrote letter after letter after letter. I spent hours and hours and hours nearly going blind looking at old, faded, hard to read reels of census tapes. Now, mind you this was 40 years ago. Not too many personal computers then, right? No, hopping on line, plugging in a name, and getting all kinds of records and information. Nope, this all had to be done by hand--or on foot. I began to collect a massive amount of photocopies, letters, birth certificates, death certificates, marriage certificates, service records from the Civil War etc, etc, etc. This meant piles and piles of papers and row upon row of big brown envelopes and shelf after shelf of genealogy books.

Finally, we got a computer and I bought a genealogy program to finally keep track of what I had done and where I needed to go. I got in contact with the guy in Salt Lake City who had written this program and he asked me for input and eventually let me pilot his upgrades. How cool is that? His program finally became so outdated I had to move on to Family Tree Maker. Then and came into being and I bought everything they had to offer so I can now go on line and sit in front of my computer and find all that stuff I used to have to go to the library, or courthouse, or cemetery to find. Mind you, I still take these little trips periodically, just for old times sake.

What is really neat is because of this passion of mine, I was able to find my husband's birth family. He is adopted and I chose to trace his adopted line first. He then gave me some papers his adopted mom had given him and in there was his birth mother's full name and his birth father's first name plus their siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, country of birth etc. Wow! So I went to work. I was able to find a little on his birth mom but not having his birth dad's last name, not much luck there. Soooo--I wrote to Lansing, Michigan for his birth certificate. Back came his adopted certificate but on there it stated that he had been born in Ohio, not in Michigan as we thought. Soooo--I wrote to Columbus, Ohio asking just to take a peek at his birth certificate. In a week, back came his original birth certificate with both birth parent's full names. Wow!! I was off and running!! To make a long story short, we found he had an aunt and cousins in Israel, an aunt in Detroit, and a half sister in Indiana. We have met most of these people and are in contact with all of them. Talk about lucking out. His ancestors go back to Wales and Russia/Poland. That was really refreshing to be able to look in foreign countries for ancestors. You see, some of my ancestors met the first people to come over to Jamestown. No lie! Or some of my ancestors lived near Jamestown. Most of my families go way, way, way back in America.

Both of my kids have taken an interest in genealogy. Karen traced her husbands line in Austria, Yugoslavia, and Hungary. Dave has helped his kids with numerous reports for school by looking up some of our ancestors. Parkersburg, Illinois was named for my ggg grandfather. Finneytown, Ohio was named for another ggg grandfather. President John Adams and I share ancestors. His grandfather, Henry Adams, was my whatever grandfather (way to far back to even count). And remember, Laurens Duyts, who I mentioned earlier? I love this guy. Talk about your skeleton in the closet. Well, first of all, to pay for his passage over to New Amsterdam, he cleared a bunch of land for a man named Jonas Bronk. Sound familiar? The Bronx? But, that's not all. He then sold his wife into adultery. Nice huh? For that, he had his ear cut off and was banished from New Amsterdam by Peter Stuyvesant himself. Good old Laurens got banished to New Jersey of all places. :-) But, he didn't go alone. He took his wife's sister with him and married her. You gotta love this guy.

And I leave you with Uncle Delbert Brooks. He was my dad's brother. I guess Uncle Del was always kind of a loner. He took off for parts unknown and no one heard from him for years and years. My cousin had a career in the Navy and had to have a security check done. Apparently during this check, they found that good old Uncle Del had joined Pancho Villa and became one of his lieutenants. After that was done, he worked on the railroads for awhile then ended up in Utah. One day, he went to the post office to get his retirement check. The postmaster said it wasn't there. Well, he thought that the postmaster just wasn't giving it to him so--yup--he got a gun and shot up the post office. Thank goodness, no one was injured, but that was my Uncle Del.

Ok, I know this is long and boring and I could go on and on but I won't. But--if anyone out there would like me to do a little bit of online research on their family, let me know. I LOVE doing research and I've gone about as far as I'm able for now on mine.

OK, now I'm going to bore you with some family pictures. Hee, hee.

The infamous Uncle Delbert himself. Doesn't this look like someone who would ride with Pancho Villa?

My great grandfather, Nicholas Brooks, Jr. and his wife Eliza Rebecca Dye Brooks. Don't you love the fact that she is pregnant, probably with my grandfather? And you have to love the fact that his father, Nicholas Brooks, Sr. had 4 wives, God knows how many kids, had his last kid when he was 99 and lived to be 110? What a guy!!

I call this Beauty and the Beast. On the left is beautiful Lucinda Montgomery Roberts Muncey McGuire. She was my g.g.grandmother.On the right is the very plain (possibly even homely) Mary Eliza Preston Morgan, another g.g.grandmother. (I know, the picture says g.g.g.grandmother. I goofed!!)

Between them, they produced my great grandparents, Laura Belle Roberts and Calvin Douglas Morgan.

Is this not the most handsome guy you would ever hope to meet?? This was my dad's Uncle Ben Brooks. Gotta love those Brookses. They were all such handsome men!! At least my Daddy was!!Meet my dad, George Edwin Brooks. Handsome devil!!

And my beautiful mother.

And last but not least, I am also a descendant of this guy--Edwyn Sandys, Archbishop of York. Hey, you never know who you will find on your family tree if you go back far enough.


Shama-Lama Mama said...

Heh heh... great post! I'm not sure I ever saw that picture of your dad. The others are all very familiar. Hope you aren't completely innundated with genealogy search requests. But it is fun to do some quick searches when you have access to ancestry, isn't it?

gpc said...

What fun! You have some lovely and errrr less lovely ancestors! I tried for awhile to find my people, who stem back to lithuania and czechoslovakia, with mixed results. My aunt mary jane got a little further with the maternal/czech side by traveling there, and unearthed a few cousins, but my dad's side of the family is still mostly unknown. Reading some of your stories, maybe I don't want to know! LOL! It's something I would love to learn to do, but will have to wait a couple of years until I retire. Then it can join the other half-finished projects on my list!

BOSC said...

Absolutely facinating! I loved reading your history and being able to see everyone. Sometime I'll have to send you what little I know about my family and see what you can dig up.