If you really want family history to be fun, find the stories. Sometimes we do so much of looking for names, dates, and places, that we forget all the fascinating stories that the information can provide.
I have one line of my family history that is especially quiet—possibly because they weren’t members of the church, and therefore weren’t strongly encouraged to keep detailed records. I was trying to learn a bit about one of my great-great grandpa’s down that line, and while poking around (Google searching), discovered a little snippet making reference to a ship’s registry with his wife’s name. That led me to digging for the record, and (Isn’t the Internet awesome?) I found the very registry. Now that may not seem all that interesting, but I already had a copy of a rare newspaper clipping about his wife-to-be coming to America to marry him, so the information on the registry shed more light on what I already knew.
I discovered from the registry of both ships (his and hers) that they hadn’t seen each other in five years—and they were married at age twenty. They must have been “dating” at age fifteen when he left to build them a home in the new world. Holy cow! Talk about marrying your high-school sweethearts.
I also learned that he was a miner, which made sense, since Mammoth, Utah, the city they moved to, was totally a mining town. Until now I couldn’t figure out why this random couple with no interest in the church would sail to America and trek to Utah.
Then I looked into the history of the ship my GG-Grandpa came on, the SS Oceanic (there are tons of photos of the ship online), and discovered that earlier in the same month he sailed, that same ship had experienced a mutiny, and had only a while early crashed into a smaller ship, killing seven people. That too right around the time of the Titanic’s voyage. These were not times of oceanic bliss! (pun intended)
Still a lot of questions, but I have so much more to go on now.
No one can tell me family history is boring. I’m finding this stuff right and left. The stories are there for the discovering!