Making history come alive

Genealogy was always one of those things that I half-heartedly wanted to get into. You know, in all my copious spare time? It seemed like one of those things I would like (I do love a mystery) but one of those things that I’d have to put off until I had time, because I can be pretty obsessive about some things, and it seemed like I would want the time to dig into things without other things clamoring to be done. So, yeah. Needless to say I never got around to it.

So, I think I mentioned a week or so ago, Sharon is letting me tag along (poke her and keep her awake while driving) on a West Virginia trip. Well, I vaguely remembered I had People, and those People were from The Area. So how neat would it be if they were from exactly that area, and we could stop by a gravesite? I mean, I hear I have living relatives up there, but we really aren’t going to have the time I would want to devote to meeting family — really not enough time to do anything more than find their house, knock on the door, ask for family photos, and leave again… and that’s just rude. This trip isn’t about me and researching famly. But you don’t have to spend a few hours getting to know someone if they’re six feet under, so… I began a search for any dead West Virginia relatives.

And just like I thought, that has lead me into a rabbit hole of genealogy research that is fun and mysterious and just a little bit frustrating (seriously, were there only like ten names back then? And why did families in three different branches of Haldemans have to name a kid Daniel in 1854? That’s just messed up.). The more I look into it the more I want to find out ALL THE NAMES. So far I’ve been getting by with The Google and a somewhat free genealogy site (you can search for free, and add things for free, but then they have a more detailed and probably more helpful search, which costs money, which I don’t have). It’s not, but the more I run into some brick walls, the more I’m thinking of trying out their free 14-day trial and using the shit out of it for the next two weeks. Because brick walls I have found!

Anyway. I definitely want to write up what I’m finding, I just need to figure out how to do it. I don’t want to just post a chart; for one thing, that shit goes back to the early-1700s before I stopped out of sheer frustration (two Peter Haldemans born in Switzerland, both came to Pennsylvania, both had numerous children including both of them having a son named Jacob born in 1722? Really? REALLY?).


I want to make it a little more real, mostly because I can’t stop thinking about the quality of life, everything from health care to hobbies, especially as I write birth and death dates and see on Census reports what the people did for a living. So I’m thinking of writing each generation up in a series of blog posts… I guess I just need to decide if I want to start with me and work backwards, or start with whichever Peter I give up and choose as the right one, and work forward.

Here’s a teaser, though —

Haldeman Family (approx. 1914/1915)

Top row: Anna Roberta “Bertie” Fields Haldeman; William Otto Haldeman; Alpha Maude Fields Haldeman; Mae Haldeman
Middle Row: George Haldeman; William Zeremiah Haldeman; Joseph Jasper Haldeman; Amanda Jane Boyd Haldeman
Bottom Row: Ruth Haldeman; Helen Haldeman; Grace Haldeman; Virginia Haldeman; Janie Haldeman
Not pictured: Jack Carroll Haldeman (my grandfather, who was about two years old at this photo taken, making it approx 1914)

William Otto and Bertie were married, with children Helen, Virginia, Janie, and Jack (my grandfather).
Jasper, Otto’s brother, married Bertie’s sister, Maude, and had children Mae, George, Ruth, and Grace. Making them… I don’t know, double cousins?
William Zeremiah and Amanda Jane were the parents of Otto and Jasper (their only two children).

To be continued….

3 thoughts on “0

  1. Neat! I always envy people who’s families have been here for a long time. I’m only 2nd generation born in the US on my maternal grandfather’s side and 3rd on my maternal grandmother’s. So, very recent families. My grandfather came through Ellis Island and my grandmother’s parents too. Much harder to track down info from Eastern Europe and such then the US.

  2. Have you looked at the Alachua County Library website for remote (at your home) access to Ancestry? I’m sure they have it and all you need is your library card number and your (arranged with the library) pin to search. It’s not as comprehensive as the Heritage website which most libraries only are allowed to provide at library computers. But remote access to Ancestry is very useful.

  3. Cool! You should write like one would write a novel; start at the beginning and just tell the story (what story you can find) and just keep adding to it. Who cares if it’s a little jumpy at first; just keep adding to it as you go along and eventually you’ll have a downright neat story and it’ll be yours in more ways than one!

    Good luck with it, and feel free to call on me whenever you need any historical (hysterical) references.


    PS – loved the FB post about Gettysburg! See? I told you you had a story to tell! 🙂

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