During this self-quarantine, I’ve found myself turning again and again to read stories of my ancestors. It’s brought an incredible fulfillment to my soul. Since we aren’t able to connect as closely with others physically, reading my ancestors’ stories has brought a different type of connection with people—with those who went before me and helped shape my life and my family’s lives through the way they lived. I’ve found that social distancing is bringing ancestral closeness! Take time today to learn about an ancestor and see how it affects you.
You might be amazed at what surprising stories you discover! Just in the last couple weeks, I’ve learned that two of my ancestors apprehended a well-known cowboy thief during frontier times! I found out that several of my great-aunts, whom I knew fairly well, went by their middle names (I had no idea!). I researched about an ancestor who lost 8 of her 10 children as infants or toddlers, and the only records that showed me that were birth records and census records—put together, they tell an incredible story of hope and perseverance.
What if you don’t have written stories of your ancestors? Chances are, you might be able to access some stories online! That’s what I’ve been doing. FamilySearch.org has created one huge family tree where people can share stories, photos, or records (census records, birth records, etc.). Everything I’ve been reading lately has been uploaded by someone else into this huge family tree. Anyone can create a free account on that site and read the stories. You can learn more about it in its Getting Started page. Other sites like Ancestry.com and MyHeritage.com also have great records, though they require a paid subscription for a lot of the access.
Even if you don’t think you have family histories recorded, check out one of these sites and see what the local records can teach you!
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These three downloadable journaling sheets will help your family record their experiences during the coronavirus.