Tuesday, January 5, 2010


About 18 or so years ago I thought I would begin working on family history. I searched out information about several of my grandparents and some information about my great-grandparents. It was at a time before so many resources were online. (In fact, when I began, there was no “online.” The internet hadn’t been invented yet.) It was also a time when I had children at home. After finding these grandparents and asking my mom what she knew about her and Dad's side of the family, I set family history aside for a while.

Then, about 4 or 5 years ago, when I began my family history search in earnest, my first step was to contact any and all living older relatives to find out whether they had any information that would be helpful to me.

On my Meinzen/Armitage side of the family, there were only two I knew who were older than me and my generation: Aunt Dot; and Betty Wilson, Aunt Dot’s cousin and Aunt Mina’s daughter. There was also a cousin of my generation, Alan H., who is one of Aunt Mina’s grandsons.

Aunt Dot answered lots of questions. Betty sent photos, but answered no questions. She told me to contact Alan because he had already done all the Meinzen genealogy.

I wrote to Alan and one Sunday evening he phoned and shared some of the information he’d found in his research. I hurriedly jotted notes as he talked, and inserted questions when I could to clarify. He didn’t share sources and references, but gave names and some dates. For some of the information he gave me, the dates didn’t seem to correlate.

I decided I wanted to be as accurate as possible about my genealogy/family history research. I wanted to know for myself what the records, newspapers, and certificates recorded. I determined that I would search out every possible source and reference for the people in my family and that I would record what and where I'd searched, as well as what I found and didn't find.

The next posts are about one of my searches - finding Hannah Elizabeth Meinzen, daughter of Henry Carl and Elizabeth (Armitage) Meinzen.

You just can’t beat family history for solving real life mysteries!

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