Genealogy Research, Brick Wall Demolition, Family History Writing, Photo Scanning and Restoration, and Family Tree Maker Software Training.
I have been addicted to genealogy and history for over 40 years ever since my grandmother gave me an old family genealogy and the hand-written autobiography of my great grandfather. I became the family “keeper of the names” and have since collected thousands of documents, photos, and stories about my heritage.
My German ancestors settled in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Missouri, and pioneered Kansas, and fought in the Civil War for the Union. I have a rare photo of a cousin in his uniform that lead me to delve into his tragic and short life. (click on the photo to go to his story)
Some of my English/Scotch-Irish ancestors were among the first European settlers of the British Colonies, going back to Jamestown, and went on to fight in every war. They settled Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Colonial Virginia, and dozens in my father’s line fought on the side of the Confederacy in our Civil War.
Most were farmers, blacksmiths, teachers and carpenters, none so far found to be “famous” although I have found a few interesting connections to some well-known figures in our country’s history including Mark Twain, Barack Obama, Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, William Penn, and maybe even Thomas Jefferson.
I have used Family Tree Maker since it was loaded on floppy discs, and now also use Ancestry.com to organize and research the 20,000+ names I have amassed going back beyond the 1600s in both Europe and America.
But it’s not just about gathering names and dates, it’s about telling their stories and learning about history in the context of my ancestors. So I write illustrated “narratives” that tell their stories, and I am even working on a novel inspired by one of my ancestors.
My love of history is probably why I got a Master’s degree in Underwater Archaeology. Although my field work was done under the waters of Kingston Harbor in Jamaica excavating the 17th century city of Port Royal that sank into the harbor in an earthquake in 1692, my Master’s thesis was on the 17th-century Probate Inventories of Port Royal, Jamaica (including pirate Henry Morgan’s inventory). I spent long hours in the archives researching, transcribing 300-year-old hand written documents and microfilming records in the Spanish Town, Jamaica archives.
Visit my family history site to read some of the fascinating stories I have uncovered about my family: www.family.dianathornton.com