Categories
Diary

Genealogy

I’ve added a Genealogy Resources list to my links. I’ve always been interested in family histories; my grandfather put together a 72-page book charting our family from Wales across Virginia and Kentucky when I was a kid, and some years ago I was contacted by a distant relative in Texas who sent me a huge printout of his own Aubrey family tree research going back even further. (Unfortunately, I lost all that stuff in the fire.) I’ve used Ancestry.com off and on for a few years, messing with a couple trees here and there, but that was about the extent of my forays into genealogy until today.

Yesterday on Twitter, my friend Chris linked to a site I hadn’t heard of before: Find a Grave. It’s an amazing resource, containing listings for 95 million grave sites. I spent some time there today, putting in entries for my grandparents and great-grandparents and a great-uncle and creating “virtual cemeteries” (groups of family members) for Dad’s family, Mom’s family, and Sean’s family. I barely scratched the surface of what’s available, but I’ll need to do more in-depth research to continue.

In the course of searching for information to put in the listings, I discovered this detailed description of Grandpa’s book, which filled in some gaps in my memory. I had been pretty sure my immigrant ancestor’s name was John, but that was all I could remember.

Henry Awbrey (d.1694) immigrated from Wales to Rappahannock County, Virginia about 1663. John Awbrey (ca.1623-1692), brother of Henry, immigrated from Wales to Westmoreland County, Virginia. Descendants of the brothers (chiefly spelling the surname Aubrey) lived in Virginia, Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama, Texas and elsewhere. Includes family history and genealogical data about ancestors in Wales, England and elsewhere to about 1066 A.D.

I’m really happy to have this information. Hopefully someday I can find an actual copy of Grandpa’s book, too. When I do, I’d love to put it online, but I’m not sure how copyright works for something like this. Grandpa didn’t make his book for profit. He and Grandma have passed away, so I’m not sure who the rights would fall to. I do recall Grandma telling me that someone from Grandpa’s family had asked for all his research; perhaps that person was given the publication rights as well? I’d love for Grandpa’s book to have a broader audience than just the few who managed to snag copies of his hand-typed, photocopied, center-stapled self-publication.

I’ve been thinking recently that I’d like to design a robust genealogy web application. There are many features I’d like to incorporate, like family home information (pictures, locations, the dates family members lived there); the ability to create/generate matrilineal trees; information and timelines on events that involved multiple family members, with general summaries for everyone and the capability to add notes specific to each person; and whatever else I can think of, with all data cross-referenced and available in an API. Of course, something like this may already exist; I’ve barely dipped my toe into genealogy. I’m just fascinated by the idea of archiving lives in creative, robust ways.