family history

Family Book Update

It has been WAAAAY too long since my last post! Life gets busy, and mine is about to get a lot busier come next June. My wife and I have a baby on the way! Between work, doctor appointments, fixing up our house, and all of my volunteer time at the Winnebago County Historical Society it has been hard to sit down and blog. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been living and breathing history all of this time.

With the big news of our little historian on the way next year, I have been working pretty hard on assembling the Frederick family history.  I promised myself I would start this as a new years resolution last year. I do have some great resources that piece together the puzzle that is my family’s heritage. For example, I was able to find my Great-Great Grandfather Johann Frederick’s naturalization document when he became an American. That is an amazing snippet of family history to have! I’ve also acquired some great family photos for visuals.

While researching my family history I’ve bumped into some distant relatives.  A woman I connected with on Find A Grave turned out to be my third cousin once removed. We shared information and photos with one another, and she was kind enough to share some old records from Germany about my great-great grandma and grandpa. You never know what new information you will find or what distant family member you might connect with.

Johnson, A. J., Johnson’s New Illustrated Family Atlas of The World with Physical Geography, and with Descriptions Geographical, Statistical, and Historic including The Latest Federal Census, A Geographical Index, and a Chronological History of the Civil War in America, (last Johnson and Ward), 1866.

Piece by piece the history is coming together. I’ve started working on putting all of this in a book on my Shutterfly account. That website has an ancestry book template with some great stickers and themes. I initially wanted to put multiple generations in one book, but I don’t think that is practical for all of the information I want to share. So I have decided to make multiple books and separate each one by generation–sort of. My first book is going to be about Great-Great Grandma and Grandpa Frederick, but I will also include the vital information and short background about their children. I will highlight their son Arthur (My Great Grandpa) in this book because he will be the highlight of the next generation book. This is going to make it a lot easier to present the information, and it helps me personalize the books a little more once I get to my generation for my brother and sisters if they want one.

Besides names and dates, what other information could I possibly use to make a book about my family interesting? Our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents were living, breathing people of their time and lived through historic events and have seen some amazing sights. Researching that information is half of the fun. Right away I set the stage for what was happening in Germany before Great-Great Grandma and Grandpa Frederick left and offered some theories of why they came to America and their journey here. What are some of the first things that pop into your mind when you think of immigration in America? I bet the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island come to mind. But my great-great grandparents arrived in America before either of those landmarks existed. They came into Castle Garden Immigrant Center when they arrived in New York City On May 11, 1869–the day after the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. These are a few of the histories I’ve learned along the way, and that information really helps establish the historical setting.

I won’t have this first book wrapped up by the end of 2017, but I will have a copy of it by next year for sure. I am putting a few finishing touches on it and am really excited to have this one in my hands. I hope our little one will appreciate all the hard work Dad put into putting this together. I want it to be the most comprehensive history of our branch of the family. I plan to put a couple of blank “Notes” pages for additions for later dates. My next post will be with the finished product in my hand, so stay tuned!

Have you written a family history? What did you include in it and what suggestions do you have for me?


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