My name is Dana, and I’m a genealogist. (Hmm, when I say that I feel like I should be at some sort of rehab meeting. But where’s the fun in that?)
As genealogists go, I’m a hobbyist in transition; I have aspirations to become professional and am actively pursuing that goal, but I know it will take a lot of time and work before I reach that stage. I began researching my family intensively in 2007 and it became an obsession almost immediately. Though I tried looking into my family history somewhat in years prior, I truly am a child of the information/technology age; it wasn’t until internet genealogy really took off and Ancestry.com commercials were everywhere I turned that I finally dipped my toe back in the family history water. Very quickly, the sticky tentacles of genealogy wrapped around my toe, my ankle, and the rest of me, pulling me under into an intoxicating world of mystery and history. I never resurfaced. My family and friends are kind enough to smile and nod when I go on (and on and on) about my latest discoveries. Recently, DearMyrtle’s ‘Blogging for Beginners’ inspired me to take the next step in chronicling my ancestors, my research and my progress towards professionalism, and this blog was born.
The title of this blog was inspired by my mother; when I was growing up, she would always comment on any celebrity or acquaintance acting too big for their britches with ‘We’re all just folks.’ It was a healthy reminder not to let the opinions of others weigh me down, nor to act too high and mighty myself. It’s a fundamentally American concept, one of utter equality and simplicity, and it fits beautifully for the families I am descended from. My maternal and paternal lines were primarily hard-working, simple folks. Most were farmers. Some were illiterate. A few were merchants or tailors. Many were soldiers on both sides of the Civil War. They lived in New England, in the Midwest, in the West, in the South, but none of them are recent immigrants. Most arrived in the 1600s and 1700s of the lines I’ve been able to trace thus far, and the latest immigrant in the family I’ve found arrived from England in the 1840s. There’s no presidents there, nor great artists or other celebrities; there’s just folks – generations of hard-working people helping to shape a nation and trying to carve out lives for their families. It wasn’t easy and it certainly wasn’t always pretty, but it’s something essentially American, and something I’m proud to claim.
So, welcome to ‘Just Folks’ – be sure to take a look at the ‘Family Surnames’ page and see if we have any ancestors in common. Also feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org – I’d love to hear from you!