The “G” Word–Geneology

Have you researched your genealogy? It can be great fun. I started the process about ten years ago, or more. I was able to research my mother’s side of the family back to the twelve hundreds. I found some very interesting stories along the way. I also met a group of relatives that I would’ve never met if I hadn’t been looking for information.

I returned to Fertile, MN and discovered a graveyard from the 1800’s that belonged entirely to our clan except for about six graves that were from one other family. The graveyard was off the beaten path in the woods hidden from the public. It contained the graves of my great grandparents, and my great, great grandparents and gaggles of great aunts and uncles. All those original “Fertile families” were “gi-normous.” My great-grandfather was one of eighteen. His folks came from Canada to the valley along with three other families nearly as large. They arrived there too late to get their homes built before winter settled in, so that first winter they had to dig holes in the hills and live underground until the snows passed. They initially called the area Godfrey Township. It was sometime later when my brilliant ancestors changed the name to Fertile.

I also discovered other interesting things, like the first cousins that married each other, making some parts of my family tree a “pole” instead of a tree.

Have you researched your genealogy? Any interesting stories you’d care to share?

  1. I’ve never truly researched it, Tee, but I know some family stories. My dad’s grandfather lived to be over 100; at 98, he was arrested for inciting a riot and burning down my dad’s high school (it was over desegregation and no, Granddad wasn’t for it). On my mom’s side, my great aunt was a call girl who killed one of her husbands with a butcher knife. Her daughter inherited the family business, altho she didn’t kill anyone. With a family like this, do I really want to dig any deeper?


  2. Love genealogy research! My cousin did a lot, in person, before the Internet. She traced one side of the family back to 1300s. GX10 or so, grandfather was President of the Republic of Bern(Switzerland). A g-g-grandfather was married to a 40-year-old when he was around 94! I think it was his 4th or 5th marriage.

    I’ve met several distant cousins through research, all across this country and even Germany.

    Genealogy is one reason I wrote my series, “Cynthia’s Attic” that allowed me (MC) to travel back in time and have adventures with ancestors.


    • Banai I have asked many of my great aunts and uncles qunitsoes. I have been fortunate enough to get a lot of answers and good stories from them, but there are certainly qunitsoes that they were unable to answer for one reason or the other. I’ve been lucky enough to find many people who were either friends of the family or neighbors who were able to fill in more gaps.But since I am the baby of my generation and my mom had me at 30, I was unable to have a relationship with many family members because by the time I came around they were either already gone, their memories were gone, they were sick so I wasn’t allowed to visit often, or I just didn’t have the idea to ask the qunitsoes or write down what I heard.I did an interview in the 7th grade with my grandpa to discuss his service in the Korean War. The only things I wrote down were the answers that I needed to turn in my paper. It was one of the few times that I had a heart-felt conversation with my grandpa but I didn’t listen to the extra stories that he told. I no longer have that paper and for the life of me I can’t remember most of what he told me. I always wonder what would have been if only I had written everything down.

  3. Wow, cool stuff…the kind of thing books are made of. Ever thought about writing a book?

  4. I love this topic! I wish I had more time to investigate my own genealogy. My best story is that my dad and I took off to Italy to explore the tiny town where my relatives were from. Oh so much fun! Thanks for the great post Teresa!

  5. I actually do genealogy research as a hobby. I’ve traced my fathers side to 1060 and my mothers side to 1840. I’ve also helped a few friends start their own trees. It’s fascinating stuff! I found knights and lords in my Engish ancestry!

  6. I found those also, well, one anyway. We may even be related. When researching my tree, I discovered one of my best friends was related to me. Some ten generations back we had the same grandfather.

  7. Golly, Gee …

    yeah, researched my roots all the way. I’m descended from some guy named Adam and a foxy nudist named Eve.


    • Nice article.When I was about 11, I had a flmiay tree school assignment which was soon followed by interviewing my three living grandparents. I gathered names, dates, and places. They volunteered a bit more, but I didn’t write down everything and I didn’t think to record them. When I got back to genealogy as an adult, I still had the data that I had written down from that time.So even though I did get an early start with three grandparents, I didn’t know the rules. I didn’t record them, didn’t ask the right questions, and didn’t write down every word they spoke. (I know my grandmother told me an uncle changed the name. She didn’t know which person that uncle was, but I’m certain she told me the name. Frustrating not to remember or have written it down!)Still, it was a good start and a lot more information than my parents could have ever provided. It’s a good thing some of my grandparents’ siblings were still around and I got to talk to them. Have you looked up your great-uncles and great-aunts?

  8. Indeed I have traced my family tree and loved every minute of it. My mom's family came to Minnesota from Clinton County, NY. Just think, if they hadn't, I might have been a New Yorker. God forbid! This family settled in southern Minnesota in a little town called Guilford near Zumbro Falls. Like you, I've been to all the graveyards and read their histories. Fascinating stuff. Such a simple life back then. My great-great-grandmother had 13 kids, and during the Civil War (while she kept the home fires burning) two sons, a son-in-law and her brother went off to fight. Thankfully, they all made it home, some injured. Can you imagine it? And she was pregnany at the time with her 13th child, my great-grandfather.

    Love history, absolutely love it!
    Kat Bryan


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