My name is Kenneth R Marks, and I reside in Sun City, Arizona. And this is the story of how I began the journey of finding my family history.
In 2002, for a reason long forgotten, I joined ancestry.com as a “free subscriber”. Not driven by a passion to “know” my roots, but just interest, I began the search. Along the way, I have discovered hundreds and hundreds of techniques to use to make progress in this journey. It is my intent to share these techniques, as well as valuable tools in order that the journey for you will be less bumpy and hopefully just as rewarding as it has been for me.
When I started, quite honestly, I knew the first and last names of only two of my great grandparents – both on my Mother’s side of the family – William William Williams – her grandfather, who she never had met, and her other grandfather, John Delano Lutgens, who she did know because he lived with her parents and her brothers and sister as she grew up in West Oakland. I did remember Grandpa Heyman, my father’s grandfather, but didn’t know his first name. He was the only one of my great grandparents who were actually alive when I was – up until I was nine years old. All 5 of my remaining great grandparents were a total mystery to me. In fact, I have no memory of anyone in my family even mentioning them – not necessarily because they led “bad” lives or had a sordid history – just because no one talked of them – and I don’t think it is because I wasn’t a good listener.
My dear Mother passed in July 2003. After her passing, I became more interested, again not a passion but just interest.
You might ask – did you ask your Mother about any family history between 2002 and the date of her passing? And the answer is – NO! Do I regret not asking her? The answer is a resounding – YES!
And this, in my opinion, is the BIGGEST lesson of all – ask the living before it is too late about their lives, and their stories, and not only look at their photo books but ask them who the people are in these albums.
And since then, over the past decade, I have become an obsessed ANCESTOR HUNTER.
The Ancestor Hunt website was created to basically “Help people find stuff.” In a nutshell, we find links to Free Online Collections, so you don’t have to.
What started as 10,000 links to Free Online Newspaper Titles in 2014 has blossomed to over 150,000 in 19 different Genealogy Record Collection categories.