Filling in the Blanks: How I Started My Genealogy Research – Part 1

Trisha’s Note: My husband, Phillip, will be posting a 2-part blog post about how he started filling in his family tree as a genealogy research newbie. This is Part 1. Enjoy!

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know Trisha has been researching her family for a good number of years now. (Shameless plug: If you’re not a regular reader, go back and read some older posts and learn more about what Trisha is doing in her research.) Anyway, over the years, I’ve never had a desire to do my own family research, but I’ve always supported hers. Usually, it was helping set up her technology needs, such as this blog and the podcast. Since Trisha “doesn’t do cemeteries,” I walked through a cemetery on a hot June day in Alsip, IL looking for some of her relatives’ headstones.

The family headstone I found while Trisha waited by the road.
Trisha viewing the headstone AFTER I found it.

So while I’ve been an active participant in Trisha’s research, I didn’t want to be involved in my own. And it’s not that I didn’t care, I just didn’t have an interest in it. I was more than okay with the people I already knew in the family. Well, that has changed recently, and I’m now getting my feet wet into the world of genealogy and family research.

You’re probably asking yourself what changed his mind.  Well, I’ll tell you I used to be adamant about not doing this. But I’ve done a total 180 and can pinpoint several things that gave me the inspiration to begin my own family research.

I attended my first genealogy conference in October 2018 (AAHGS 39th Conference) in Philadelphia. Trisha was attending the conference, and I volunteered to record videos. While there, I heard so many stories from people that got me thinking about my own family history.

I attended RootsTech in February. My intention for going was twofold. To learn about how to get better at creating blogs, videos, tech, etc. and recording videos for AAHGS. This is probably about the time my interest started to grow the most. The sharing of knowledge and support provided by the class instructors, staff, attendees, etc. were incredible. I met so many great people who gave kind and encouraging words.

Trisha and I at RootsTech.
One of the nicest people I met at RootsTech, Genealogy Jen of Repurposed Genealogy.

On the flight back home, I leaned over to Trisha and said, “I think I’m going to start    researching my family!” She was shocked to hear me say that, but she was also excited for me to begin learning all about my family.

In February, my father was told he had a half brother that was adopted. My dad is quite a bit older than him and was already out of his mother’s house, so he never knew about the younger brother. We were able to meet him and his family in March over dinner and look forward to seeing him again over the 4th of July weekend.

Meeting this new family member got me wondering about what other family members and ancestors I don’t know. Who are they? Where are they from? What did they do? How many kids did they have? So many things were going through my mind.

Probably the biggest inspiration for me to begin my own journey was Trisha. (Brownie points, LOL.) Back when I wasn’t really interested in this, she never tried to push it on me or bother me about it. And while I know it’s not always easy and can be big-time frustrating, I saw the joy she had when she found useful information. The way she celebrated every accomplishment, I wanted to feel that same joy.

At this point, it was about time for me to start the actual research. Start looking for names, dates, documents, etc. to put names to empty spaces. My brother had gotten off to a casual start in our family research, so I had a good place to start filling in the blanks.

In Part II of my story, I’ll share the process I went through in my research, what I found, and what I’m going to do next.

Learn more about Genealogy Jen of Repurposed Genealogy.

While you’re here, check out the most recent episode of our Podcast. You can find us wherever you listen to Podcasts. We also have a YouTube channel and Twitter. Go subscribe and follow us. We appreciate you.

Phillip’s Note: Thanks to Trisha for allowing me to be a guest on her blog and thank you for reading. I told Trisha my blog was going to be the best one she’s ever had, so after reading, feel free to share it with others and help me impress Trisha.

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Anonymous says:

    Phillip, this may not impress Trisha, but I was impressed, so, please continue your journey as you “fill in the blanks.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Phillip, I’ve been impressed with your wife’s work for a while now. It’s good to see you have added to the family enterprise. Enjoyed this piece!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Trisha says:

      Thank you so much for reading and your continued support.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Brenda says:

    This is such a beautiful post. To see a husband and wife take interest in the same past time is indeed a beautiful thing. Happy hunting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Trisha says:

      Brenda, Thank you for reading and leaving a comment. I’m very excited about this starting my own journey and continuing to support Trisha in hers as well.


  4. gentraveling says:

    Great post! It’s always SO interesting to read about how people become interested (or should I say hooked?!?) on genealogy. Looking forward to Part II.


    1. Trisha says:

      Thank you for reading. I’m really excited to start my own journey. Part 2 was posted this morning.


  5. Anonymous says:

    Phillip, I enjoyed reading Parts 1 & 2 and I look forward to your next blog. That was really amazing how you obtained the history, it seemed as if it almost fell into your lap. Keep up the good search, I love it!


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