By: Paula Walter
Our Progress edition of The Tomahawk comes out next Wednesday, March 29th. For all of us who work on this extensive edition, it is always a labor of love, and even more so this year as our theme is “Where in the world do you come from?” It’s a very personal and meaningful edition for our writers, for us at The Tomahawk and for those in the community who have shared memories and stories with us that come from their hearts. This year we wanted to dig beyond the basics and find out who we are.
In the past few years, there seems to be a huge interest in genealogy. You may find yourself digging for old pictures tucked away inside the family Bible, and reading over and over again the family stories that were passed through the generations.
In addition to family history that has been shared throughout the years, at the click of a mouse, those searching for information on their families is readily available. There are Internet sites that can give you access to information that may have been out of your reach until now. Working on your ancestry and finding out who and what makes you who you are have become a worldwide movement.
Many of those who participated in our quest to explore our roots in our “Where in the world do you come from?” edition have done extensive research on their families. Some have taken an approach with DNA analysis that can connect you with others whom match your DNA, while some have dug in county records, searched through census records and courthouse records. Whatever way you chose to set out to search for your family, it becomes intensely personal. These are your people, no matter how many years ago they lived.
What we found in reaching out to Johnson Countians, whether they currently live in the county or far away, there is often a deep need to know their ancestors, their people who made them who they are today. Their search brings life to old family stories and pictures they may discover.
As they dig deeper and deeper, it’s not unusual to not only find when their families settled in America, but where they came from and why they left their home countries.
It is often an emotional journey, and for those of you who speak to me for just a few minutes, you know I typically start talking about genealogy and DNA. While I have had surprises that have broken my heart, I am overjoyed to have found an 88-year-old woman who lives just a few miles from our previous home in Virginia. With her help and her willingness to take a DNA test from Ancestry.com, I have solved the mystery of my mother’s paternal father. In the process, my brother and I have gained new family who were happy to embrace us. There isn’t always such a warm reception, especially when families prefer to ignore DNA results. As I have learned through this process, DNA doesn’t lie.
I sincerely hope you enjoy our Progress edition.
None of it could have been done without the help of Johnson Countians, both here and away, who were willing to tell their stories, shared what they learned and gave us all hope that our families, no matter where and when, can be found.