As for many Americans, the mystery of my ancestors has remained buried in a cloudy, mixed, and muddled past. Someone’s grandmother was Italian, or German, or Irish. Many, or most Americans have had to go by hearsay where there ancestors were concerned, hearsay that seemed full of inconsistencies.
As the years have passed, the task of discovering one’s ancestors has become a more tangible one, albeit a very time consuming and still a difficult one. Still, visiting local, or even distant, libraries and spending months, or even years, pouring over records and articles has hardly seemed feasible to those other than the most passionate and determined about uncovering their roots.
Enter online libraries for genealogy. The Library of Congress has one, and then there is Ancestry.com, Afro-American Genealogical Research, and there are many, many more. The task can still be one that is very time consuming, however extremely rewarding for those who persevere.
I have recently myself clarified my relationship as a great (x6) granddaughter of Patrick Henry, American patriot and Founding Father, through my maternal side. A future goal of mine is to discover the secrets of a great grandfather who had changed his name several times: Where was he originally from? Why did he change his name? And why are the names of his parents nowhere to be found in online records–or at least up until this point they remain unfound.
I recommend anyone interested in uncovering mysteries about their past to try their hand at being both detectives and librarians in online libraries for genealogy.