Wednesday, January 1, 2014

My Purpose

Follow me on my trail of family research through Grant County, Wisconsin. This is a project involving hot summer days spent in lonely old cemeteries, scanning album upon album of old family photos, exploring records at the county courthouse, and putting everything together into a relatable format!

But what name could I give my project, I wondered? How could I label it with a surname or two to fully describe what it encompasses? Klars, Kleins, Neids, Fures, Wunderlins--all have had their part in the creation of me. And as I researched more and found little connections between families, I realized that I am so much more than a simple mash-up of Klar, Klein, etc. DNA. I am the product of all their combined experiences with friends, neighbors, and relatives. All the families of Grant County have had some little piece in the making of me. For example, I'm not a blood relative of anyone in the Fritz family, but my great-grandmother's friendship with one of them had an incredible influence on the course of her life. All of Grant County is entwined in one large amazing crazy quilt. So, though I will concentrate my most direct ancestors to begin with, I am keenly interested in the connections among all of Southwest Wisconsin and neighboring regions. After that epiphany, I also had a title, and now here you are: Six Degrees of Grant County.

So I had a title, but my next hurdle was how to share my love of family history with, well, my family. There is a certain kind of person that is diverted by lists of names and dates and ages (census records oh my!). To the rest of the population, however, those are dry details, and it is hard to keep someone's attention. The true goal of the family researcher is to find a way to drill down to all the dry, hard facts and then create something living and relatable out of it, something that non-historians will appreciate. To that end, as I sift through source materials, my goal is to write a series of articles to share my findings in a hopefully entertaining and interesting manner.

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