Why Your Heritage is Worth the Hunt

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Researching your ancestry can be exhausting. Depending on how far you are looking to go, you can spend your whole life looking for familial connections. Of course, newer technology and services like Ancestry DNA have helped us quicken the process. In fact, Ancestry.com has revolutionized the search with their many helpful tools. But if you’re looking for stories, doing your own homework and building a family profile, it takes time. Lots of time.


So why do it? Well, first off, it can help with personal growth and development – to see where you came from. Secondly, in a personalized world, the story of your heritage gives history a personal touch. And finally, because once you’ve finished building up your tree, you can pass it down. If you go 10 generations up, then 10 generations from now, your family will have a complete 20 generational family tree. That’s cool! I wish I had one.




It is time consuming, but you don’t have to do it all once. Put a little time in and it will last for generations to come. Do it for yourself, and do it for your family. They will thank you for it, and you will be amazed at the journey it takes you on.



A Family Christmas

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Happy Holidays everyone!


There’s nothing quite like the Holiday Season to get you into the idea of family!! Family’s all around the world are gathering together this time of year. It’s an amazing time if you’re lucky enough to spend it with loved ones.

This Christmas is a great time to share with your family what you have found on your genealogical journey. It’s also a great time to ask questions and see what your relatives might know that could help you find out more. Don’t be afraid to bring out your research and ask questions during your celebration with your family!


Also, if you know someone who is interested in their heritage, an Ancestry.com membership makes a great gift! Give the gift of family this year, with the information you’ve found or the ability for someone else to do their own research!


This time of year is all about family, so get to researching yours!

Give Me An Inch…

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My husband finds my genealogy fascinating. He’s so intrigued by how I found my way all the way up my family tree. (Okay, not all the way. I haven’t struck Noah yet.) He swore that he’d never be able to find anything.

He didn’t have the same knowledge of his family starting out as I did, so he thought he couldn’t do it. We sat down at the computer and I searched for his grandfather; and he was amazed when I found him. Just forty-five minutes later, we had gone up four generations.


You don’t need a lot to get started. Just one name. It’s like that saying; “if you give them an inch, they’ll take a mile.” In this case, it’s “give me a name and I’ll build you a tree.” One name is all you need to get started. You can definitely do it.

Archives and Helpful Documents

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Hey all!


Working hard to find the family farm throughout history, I finally found an ownership map of Pennsylvania from 1858. I now know that at least part of the farm was owned by my family at the time. I also found that on the PA State Archives website, you can find a list patents and land grants and who bought land where. It’s exhausting going through all the names, and some of the handwriting is harder to read than others. But, once I find what I am looking for, I am sure it will all be worth it.



Ownership Map from 1858. On the right is a small circle where my ancestors owned land.



I also found a paper written about the historic and comprehensive background of the Gorham family; presumable written by another distant relative. It didn’t hold too much new information from the research that I have done, but it is a good way to double check my findings, as well as learn of another family member I didn’t know was out there.


Interesting findings are all over the place. You will never run out of resources if you dig deep enough. It can be time consuming, but remember – you don’t have a deadline to meet. Take your time and enjoy your journey!


Until next time…

A.L. Talarowski

The Pilgrim Connection

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I knew we’ve been here forever.


John Howland came over on the Mayflower, signed the Mayflower Compact, and is my 10x great grandfather. Yup, my ancestors were on the Mayflower. How cool is that!?

Not only did he come over on the Mayflower, but he was the last surviving man from the journey. Although, he almost didn’t even make it to land. William Bradford tells of how Howland got thrown overboard during a storm on their voyage. I also found this account retold in a great and exciting way by another 10x great grandchild of John Howland: https://talesinthetree.wordpress.com/2011/11/17/pilgrim-swept-overboard/

John Howland is buried at Burial Hill in Plymouth, Mass., where his tombstone reads “Here ended the Pilgrimage of JOHN HOWLAND who died February 23, 1672/3 aged above 80 years. He married Elizabeth daughter of JOHN TILLEY who came with him in the Mayflower Dec. 1620. From them are descended a numerous posterity. “Here was a godly man and an ancient professor in the ways of Christ. Hee was one of the first comers into this land and was the last man that was left of those that came over in the Shipp called the Mayflower that lived in Plymouth.”

I’m related to John Howland through his daughter Desire and her husband Capt. John Gorham. John came to America from England with his dad, Ralph. Later, John and Desire met and married. (And thank goodness they did, or I wouldn’t be here today.) Captain John died from a wound he sustained fighting King Phillip’s War in the Great Swamp Massacre alongside William Bradford’s son.


It’s so fun to find out how your ancestors played a role in history. Especially for an American history buff like myself. Since starting my genealogical journey, I’ve discovered that I am related to a pilgrim, and a Revolutionary War patriot.  I can’t wait to see what’s next!

The Family Connection

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Hello! Hello!


I’m glad you’re back! I’ve got a fascinating story to share with you all.

If you read last week’s post, you heard about my family member that served in the Revolutionary War. The amazing part is that when I was looking up information on this man, I discovered a webpage dedicated to him and his parents. It was written by a descendant of William; someone else doing their very own heritage hunt. There was a contact link on the page, so I emailed the women. Turns out, we are in fact cousins! Very removed, and very distant, but cousins nonetheless.

It was really exciting for me to make a connection like that. I’ve heard about things like that happening, and I’ve seen it on happen television; but to be the one to find that personal connection is really cool. It doesn’t have to be the start of a life-long friendship, just knowing that you found someone out there, somehow connected to you, is a neat feeling and great accomplishment.


Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m still working on the William Penn land grant mystery…

I’ll keep you updated.

A.L. Talarowski

Resources and the Revolutionary War

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How’s everyone’s search going?! If you hit another wall, I have another resource for you. There may be a local Family History Center that can help you out for free! Finding it is simple. Just go to familysearch.org and scroll down. On the bottom right-hand corner should be a box that says “Family History Centers.” Press on that, find your nearest facility and get access to all new information!


Now, I also want to address one downfall to using familysearch.org. The website is probably my favorite for research, but it does have one feature that has me torn. They string together ancestries and then loads them into your family tree when you add one of the connecting family members.  On one hand, it is great to have all the information there, and you don’t have to go looking for it. On the other hand, if you don’t do the research, you often miss out on a story. So my warning is this: go into each member of the family’s page, and see what other resources you can find to tell the story of the person.

Particularly, if you find you have a someone who might be something of a historical figure in your family. For example, I have found in my search that I am related to a one Col. William Pendleton. The “Col.” accompanying his name and the fact that we’ve in been in the States near forever, made me curious to do some more research. Turns out, Colonel Pendleton is considered a Revolutionary War Patriot, and also served in the French and Indian War (at which time he was considered to be the wealthiest man in Westerly, Rhode Island.)

Now there’s a story you don’t want to miss out on.


So search on, dear friends! Search on!

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