My family history journey began almost 40 years ago when I was in grade school. I bought a book from the Scholastic book fair that was happening at Armstrong Elementary School in Hazelwood, Missouri. I remember sitting down with my Mom and Dad to ask them questions about my ancestors. Filling in the spaces provided in that little book. I brought the book over to my grandparents and I continued to fill in spaces in the book.
The next summer we went to the Koen Family reunion that happened every year in near Bonne Terre, Missouri. I talked with cousins and continued to fill in space in that book.
All the names, dates and places were so amazing. The stories that I was told about those names filled me with wonder and curiosity. Although at that time, I wasn't able to do more than just listen. I didn't know anything about this hobby that would, later in my life, become a true passion. There were no trips to research libraries. Once I had exhausted all the people I could talk directly with, I lost interest. The joy of plugging in new names quickly waned.
Fast forward to my college years, my maternal grandfather gave me a similar hardbound "adult" version of the book. He remembered how much I enjoyed genealogy as a kid. This one had proper charts and family group sheets and spaces to fill in with stories. It was more of a reference book than a work book. I believe he had filled in what he could remember of his ancestry and my grandmother's.
While I appreciated the gift from him, I was in my early twenties and the last thing I wanted to do was spend time filling that book out. However, shortly after I was married and shortly before he passed away, I was able to spend time with him and that book.
It was around this time that the Internet was starting to become a thing. I discovered that the Mormons had a whole network of Family History Centers that I could access even as a non-member. I still remember my first visit to a FHC typing names into a computer that had the International Genealogical Index on it. I don't know how many CD-ROMs it had at that point. But that evening I was able to identify 10 generations of Koen families that form my direct line. The hook was set!
I also identified a few more generations on my Mom's side and shared it with my grandfather.
Over the years since, I have been fortunate enough to travel to different locations and spend time in some of my ancestral regions in the United States. Last summer, my Mom and I visited Alexandria, Minnesota, where her Dad was born and raised. We visited the Fahlun Evangelical Lutheran Church, in Nelson, Minnesota, where he and his family had been members. We saw headstones of our family member that were early members of the church in the attached cemetery.
So, this brings us to today, where I am restarting this website and beginning a "do-ver" of sorts on my research. I've toyed with this in the past, but I feel I am ready to begin again.
Since, FamilySearch has a complete tree through to all of my great-great-grandparents, meaning there are names in all of the boxes. This is where I will start. I plan to analyze, document, and of course, source all of the records available online for these 15 families. I will be regularly sharing my progress here.
It's time and I'm ready for the fun!