Interest in my ancestry began about 2 years ago when I was handed some papers which were passed down to my parents. My great-grandfather DeGraaf had received some letters from his cousin including an attached family tree. Cousin Henry Cochrane did research at New York public libraries during the 1920′s and ’30s. He also had access to an old family Bible. My parents also shared with me the genealogy of my maternal grandmother’s paternal family (Reams) and my paternal grandmother’s maternal lineage (Bangs) traced back to Plymouth Colony.
As the title of the blog suggests, I’m a beginner genealogist. My resume consists of some experience with Ancestry.com and Internet search engines. Shortly after I received the paper copies mentioned above, I signed up for a paid Ancestry.com subscription. I typed in this new family tree information and within a day or two had thousands of newly discovered ancestors. So I thought. After viewing just a few too many 8-year-olds having babies and persons living 120+ years, I realized this indeed was too good to be true. Ancestry.com’s “leaf” technology is very helpful but, as I learned, a user needs to proceed slowly and check the data. I deleted this huge family tree and started over.