My grandma on my mom's side did a lot of work on building our family tree. I also knew that there was work done on my mom's father's side and much of it was organized for family members to purchase. My grandma was the keeper of all family history and family treasures. Sadly, her home was taken away in a tornado and all the treasures lost. I suppose any genealogy records she had organized were also gone. Hours and hours of her time and effort to track the family history were just gone. I can remember being on vacation with her and watching her go through cemeteries in her dress, sensible shoes, and headscarf. She would have a pen and paper with her, and her trusty Brownie camera, and document a family headstone with the names and dates.
Now we can open a website with our awesome computers and find much of that information in databases. Maybe not the same experience as that of my grandma, but much less time consuming.
What did I find? On the one hand, I found someone as far back as 1545 who was born in Holland. On the other hand, I found a relative from the 1600's in Denmark.
I always knew our ancestors had lived in Switzerland and France, but I didn't know about Denmark or anyone from Holland. Erik has always known he is a descendant of those infamous Vikings. He is without question a big tall Danish kinda guy. But now I get to say that I also descended from those Vikings. I always just thought of myself as being German with a somewhat mixed bag on my mom's side. But there's Hans, Mads, Bodii and Oluf. If I wanted to go back any farther, I'd probably have to get a pen and pencil, sensible shoes and a warm hat, and my own version of a Brownie camera. And I'd have to travel to Denmark to go tromping through cemetaries and churches to document everything the old fashioned way. Grandma would be right there with me if she could.