I've been having a great time finding data on relatives I know about and discovering information on others that I didn't know about.
I've even come across things like the passenger list on a boat that my grandmother took on return from Germany (not immigrating .. she was a natural born citizen she was there visiting her mother's relatives), a yearbook picture for an aunt, etc.)
Spent a winter researching the families via Ancestry.com. A fascinating process and a wonderful way to relearn history. It has lead me to read extensively, to explore things like religious beliefs and government.
The neatest thing is that, the farther back you go, the less time means. Ancestors of the 16th century become real and almost immediate. You come to wonder what individuals were like, what their lives were like.
Loved finding that my great-great grandfather and -mother are buried not far from where we live, that there is an area in NH not far away where another grandfather's family lived for generations.
I want to know what they looked like, eye and hair color,beliefs, temperments, interests and talents, what caused their deaths, everything!
Form follows function, or does function follow form?
Ive been piddeling with ancestery for mmm 9ish years.
I have found some intresing things about my family.
Like my 11th grt grandfather was apparently was a good friend of William Penn's. He also established the first brewery in Pa.. He was also an importer and dealer of slaves.
My family was quakers until after the civil war. My 10th grt grandfather was actually booted from the meeting for several things whch at some point close to his death he renounced. They were maring a girl who wa not quaker and w/o the premission of the meeting, he also signed his name to an anti slavery and a passificets(sp I know horridly wrong) document.
His son served with Geo Washingon at Bradocks defat then again at the crossing of hte delaware during the revolution.
5 of his sons also served in the revolution.
Basically my family and this ws all on my mothers mothers side of ht family has served in every war in which they were of the correct age not to yong nor to old to serve this country has been involved in since the mid 1600's.
I also found many many cousins through ancestery and some of hte varoius message boards connected with the surname. I began with maybe 8 names now I have over 28k in my files.
It's an interesting window into history too... an ancestor sailed to and from Germany on a pleasure trip to visit relatives shortly after the turn of the last century. I've found images of the two ships she was on .. and, via the magic of google, learned that one was seized during WWI and subsequently used as a US troop ship and the other was turned over to the British as reparation at the end of WWI.
And who knew that a young single woman's occupation would be shown on the passenger list as "House daughter" ... well, we do still have "House wife." More eye-opening on the passenger list was contrast between the two pages of names of returning US citizens to the page-upon-page of families immigrating to the US. Did they know they were escaping the violence to come?