Nov 8 2012
I had never thought about tracing my family tree.
In fact, I had never thought of such a thing at all, until one day while visiting my auntie. I used to visit her once a month, as she was getting on in age. On one visit, I don’t know how we got on to the subject of families, but we did .
She asked me if I would like to help her to do a family tree. I said, I had no idea how to do that but I agreed to give it a try. She gave me a piece of paper with a few names listed on it and said “well this is what I know.” She had written down the names of her father and mother, her sisters and brother (the brother was my Father ) and one other name, her Granddad. She also said she thought we might have had Irish Blood. With that, she said she would like to know where she came from.
I took the paper home with me and phoned around my family. I spoke with my mother who was still alive, at that time; she did not know much about the Powell side of the family .
I phoned another sister of my dad’s; all she could tell me was there was someone with the name of a Maria or Mary in the family. That was all I could get out of anyone. There was no more.
With those clues in hand, I decided to join a library, get books and read up on what had to be done to build a family tree. After nearly 10 months of research, I finally had some idea of what to do. I booked a weekly appointment for myself at a Mormon “FamilyHistory” Center. In 1977, there was not much else available and I did not have a computer. Luckily, you could order fiche readers and films from the LDS archives. So every week on a Wednesday that was where I went; the people there were very helpful. Every week, I would sit and look at films .
One day, I asked my mother if I could borrow her marriage certificate. Using the information on the certificate, I sent away for more records. Using the name of my grandfather, who I never knew, as well as my grandmother’s name, I went back to the Mormon church to search further. With what I found, information was beginning to fit into place. My note book was getting full of different names but nowhere did I find a Maria or a Mary or any “Irish Blood”.
Later when researching my great granddad’s birth in Canada, I finally found a Maria. She was his sister. So My auntie was correct, in a way.
But as with many stories you hear, take them on board and write everything down. But never believe what you hear as being 100% correct.
Today I have taken my Powell side to 1750. But, I still have a brick wall with my Powell’s; and I have had this block for more than 20 years. I don’t think I will ever break through this wall.
Sadly, my auntie died not long after I had discovered how to build a family tree. She never knew who her family was. I thank my auntie for asking me to go into this wonderful hobby. Although there are many pitfalls and challenges in doing genealogy, in the end, you discover more of who you are.