As a child growing up, I was always fascinated by the stories about our family as told by my grandparents and great grandmother. It wasn't until 1983, however, that I got serious about investigating the family's roots shortly after the death of my maternal grandmother. I realized that one of my sources of information was gone forever. Her ancestors were the earliest of my forefathers to arrive in the New World. Primarily English and Dutch, her first immigrants arrived in 1621 on the Fortune and another was "in the service" of the Dutch West India Company as early as 1633 in what is now Delaware. On my Dad's side I have experienced the frustration of dealing with a later immigrant, 1891, with no known history other than, "Opa came from Germany." He died when my father was two and no one really ever talked much about where he came from. Eventually, after many years of searching, I found a few tidbits of information which lead to the tedium of years of original research staring at the screen of a microfilm reader, scrolling through endless films of church records, page by page at our local Family History Center; first in German and the old German style of handwriting, and later in Latin as I got further back in the records. (Thank God for the LDS.) The end result was the fun and satisfaction of putting together the pieces of a nearly 400 year long puzzle and the elation and pride that result from thorough and well documented work. I've also expanded research on the known history of my wife's French/Cajun and English ancestry.
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