I began doing genealogy somewhat seriously in about 1999 or so. The reasons I first became interested in this hobby are numerous, but I believe the biggest reason was to salute my immediate forebears and to help me to know them better through exploration of their history. When I began, I still had one living grandparent, Earline (Altman) London, but she has since passed. I knew all 4 of my grandparents fairly well, and my maternal grandparents especially so. The 4 surnames of Casey, Haupt, London, and Altman are therefore very dear to me.
Growing up, we had a small genealogy pamphlet (facsimile available here) that is about my grandmother Earline's background and family. I remember seeing it several times, and paying it little mind, though I was always curious about how we related to some local folks in one of those "small world" ways. Another document about my great-grandmother Susie White London's heritage was also interesting, and stimulated my interest. Perhaps what really keyed me in was exploring my own surname, and finding my remotest ancestor buried just a few miles from a road I had traveled many times in my life in Young County, Texas. Visiting that grave one cold February morning in 2000 left me with a sense of awe and wonder that has carried me through to this day. I had just recently found out the names of my Casey ancestors, and had begun to put the pieces together. Being a history buff, I realized the era that these folks and others had lived through, and found it interesting to connect them with remarkable moments in the history of the State of Texas and the U.S. I also found Confederate connections fascinating, and thus my tendency to focus on the Civil War era ancestors of mine in a big way.
Early on I received invaluable help from many on the Internet regarding my own genealogy, and indeed a lot of the 'research' was already done for me. I began to assimilate this data, and to use some of my skill at writing and organization, along with computer skills to portray the data as best as possible online. I have learned much about online genealogy, as well as field genealogy through my steps, and also realize there is a lot I have to learn. I also realize there are some things one can never learn in genealogy just because the information is most likely lost in time. Also, there will always be a finite number of generations to follow since our civilization didn't have great records (or even surnames) until perhaps the middle ages or after.
My goals are usually to trace the ancestry of any line back to its immigrant from Europe. So far, I have been able to do that in just a few instances, either due to the fact that the immigration was recent (see Haupt), or due to the fact that others before me have already worked it out back to Colonial days (see Holt and Turnbow). I also strive to correct data that was presented to me wrong by others, and to share information with others just starting out. By aiding others, I often find I can learn from them by back-tracking into a position where certain assumptions aren't being made which may be hindrances rather than a helpers. Too often information on the Internet, and elsewhere is construed as "concretely correct", and I think that applying the scientific method is important so one must question and scrutinize every conclusion or bit of data that comes one's way.
To summarize, I do genealogy for the love of history, and for the love of my ancestors, some of whom I knew, but most of whom I did not. Not every ancestor or relative was a wonderful person, but I love them all, warts or whatever. I am a little piece of they who came before, and if they are now in a position to look down and smile, I hope that the fact that I remember them, and honor them, warms their hearts wherever they may be. I also hope someone will remember me after I inevitably pass on, and certainly it is human nature to want to be remembered...DLC
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This page last updated 1/14/2004
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