Saturday, May 23, 2009


Welcome to Mama Susan’s Tree House. My family, students (past and present) and associates have encouraged me to write from my decades of experience researching and teaching family history. My desire is to create a comfortable place to share with you the ideas, tools and information that will help you be successful in your own research. I wish I could spend time with each of you individually, but time and distance won’t allow it and so I am grateful that technology can bring us together.

We, as individuals, are unique. Our life, our family and our ancestry have helped mold each of us. Researching our family is a journey of discovery. The adventure begins with a stroll through your own life. Gather documents and memorabilia from your past and present. This will take some time and effort. You will have more than you realize and yet you won’t have some items you believed you possessed. In the gathering and obtaining, you will learn about records you may not have thought still existed.

The documents and items you will want, to name a few, are: birth records – hospital documents, government birth certificate, church birth record, newspaper birth announcement, birth announcement sent to relatives and friends of the family, journal entries of grandparents, aunts and friends of parents; baby book; baptism record; grade school records; records from organizations you belonged to such as Boy Scouts, Bluebirds, etc.; awards; high school transcripts; college or tech school records; military service records; accomplishments; residences; marriage certificate; newspaper articles; pictures (be sure to date the photo and name all who are in the photo as well as the place the picture was taken); employment records; volunteer work; resume; medical records; etc. up to the present time. Take these items and place them in top loading acid free protective sheets and put them in chronological order in a three-ring binder (you might actually fill more than one binder). If you are missing a document, get a copy of it from the appropriate source.

Choosing to do this assignment will be one of the most fun and rewarding activities you ever do. It will have a very healing affect on you as you gather and put your life together in a visual record. You will be looking at the whole of it with its difficult times and its good times. Your perspective will broaden and you will be able to see what an incredibly awesome person you are. You will be reminded of the people in your life that have affected you and the people you have affected. And in the end you will be grateful you are you.


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