My first exposure to genealogy was was in the mid-1990s as a teenager. I was fascinated looking through the family group charts and letters from cousins that my grandpa Lee had collected regarding his van der Moere and Haan ancestors from the Netherlands. His grandfather Eduard, an immigrant from Wissenkerke, had moved the family to Indianapolis away from the Dutch settlement and community in Holland, Michigan. They left the Dutch Reformed Church. They stopped speaking Dutch in the home, and did not allow the children to learn it. They were American now, and that was that. Of course as those things usually go, it made my grandfather more interested in his family’s history, not less. If I had had access to the Internet at the time, I am sure I would have taken to the hobby right then. The library in our town at the time didn’t have much information relevant to my family. Genealogy isn’t a typical interest for teenagers but I did do things like make up my own math homework so it would have been fun for me.
I am love figuring out the immigration stories of my ancestors. What were their lives like in the old country? Why did they come to America and how did they make it happen? Did they come alone? A couple of years ago I was speaking with one of the archaeologists at Historic Jamestowne, not far from where I live. He likened the first settlers’ experience to being dropped off on the moon, in terms of being able to communicate with anyone back home. Later immigrants were not as isolated as those at Jamestowne, but many left with the understanding that they would never see family and friends again.
I am hoping to publish some of the more in-depth research from the past several years. Writing things out helps to organize, consolidate and properly source information. Hopefully others researching the same topics can eventually find and contact me as well.