Do You Know Who You Are?

 

Photo Courtesy of Ancestry.com.

Photo Courtesy of Ancestry.com.

Life is super crazy; you are born to two people, who were born to two people and so on and son on. I know this is such a bland statement but it is weird how after a certain amount of ancestors you don’t know who these people are exactly. I lost my grandmother two weeks ago and although very sad, I found myself wanting to know my history more. I know who my great-grandmother is but I’m not sure of anyone after that. So two weeks later I found myself on ancestry.com. This website allows you to navigate different names to whom may be apart of your ancestors. Once you search a name they reveal records such as birth and death; they also reveal other sources such as military information, census information, and other users family tree if public. It creates a platform you to get to know all about yourself.

Photo Courtesy of Ancestry.com

Photo Courtesy of Ancestry.com

 

Digital storytelling has many forms in which you can tell all about yourself. However with ancestry you can develop yourself from your roots. When I wanted to see if this site was reliable so I searched my grandfather’s name and it returned his birth certificate information and some of his death certificate information. I thought this was interesting but then I thought to myself that anyone could get that information. However, it also returned his military records. My grandfather served in World War II and I thought it was intriguing to be able to track that information. Also connected to his information was his mother and father (whom I have never met), his twelve brothers and sisters, and some of his aunts and uncles. I was simply amazed by this information. Although I have never met most of these people, I have heard their names mentioned before and there they were lying right in the family tree. A high school in Chicago allowed completed a project on ancestry tracing their roots and wanted people to know that we are all more alike than different (Napolitano 2007). I decided that I would create my own family tree and the more I completed it, the more I felt like I was starting to learn my history. I learned so much, even disturbing news back to my great-great-great grandfather Kinchen Ellis who has been mentioned to be a slave owner of Caucasian descent. After a while I found it was getting late so I stopped at that point. Still, I feel like I can now tell so many stories about my family based on this information.

 

Photo from Ancestry.com

Ellis Family Tree (Portion) Photo from Ancestry.com

With this information being so readily available, I found myself questioning their validity. I mean of course they have census records, birth records, death records, military records, etc. However, how accurate are their connections to each other. Through many searches I could not find any information on their accuracy. There were only reviews on their DNA portion of ancestry and it’s lack of accuracy. I concluded that this in fact was accurate just based on my own experience. I know who my grandfather is, I know who his father is, and I know the name of his father and it matched. I can only assume that the remaining of the chains are correct. In the end it is safe to say that all of the information correlates to create a pretty accurate family tree.

 

References

Napolitano, J. (2007, January 24). Tracing a common ancestry. Chicago Tribune. Accessed 2014, June 28.

See what discoveries you can make today.. (2014, January 1). Family Trees. Retrieved June 28, 2014, from http://trees.ancestry.com/tree/4525187/person/11251449?ssrc=

 

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4 thoughts on “Do You Know Who You Are?

  1. This sparked my interest so much! I realize I’ve never actually taken the time to look up my ancestors. I will definitely be checking this website out to trace my family tree. My father actually told me that my last name got changed back by a few ancestors because of a legal stipulation, so I’m very curious to see who those ancestors were and the story of my last name. Thanks for sharing!!

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  2. This is really cool. I think we forget how different life was even just a couple generations ago, and this is an amazing way to discover where we came from. I am also amazed that someone was able to compile all this information digitally and come up with a way for people to easily sort through it. The Internet is a crazy place.

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  3. I didn’t have to use ancestry.com but it is amazing that the information is accurate. My grandmother put together a book of my family dating back to the late 1800s. I wanted to delve more into the subject but never was certain about spending money for inaccurate information. It’s amazing that the site is able to compile an abundance of information for people to sort through to find their family. Thanks for letting me know it’s accurate!

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  4. I really like the idea of Ancestry.com, but, I’ll be honest, I am a bit turned off by the fact that it’s $14.99 per month after the 14-day free trial. I guess it makes sense to keep the site up and have access to records. But unless you’re writing a substantial family history, I cannot see the point in paying about $15 a month for the service.

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