Sunday, September 14, 2014

That First Night Online

In March of 2012 I had taken a lovely weekend trip to the western side of Colorado.  While on the trip, a friend mentioned she wanted to take a side trip to the town of Paonia, Colorado.  I, in an off the cuff comment, mentioned I had heard from an aunt that I had family from England in Paonia.   I really didn't have a clue as who they were or what their last name could be.  And, I had only two last names to go on from England; Chinery and Page.  So when I got home that night, I started an online search to see if I could figure out whom these long lost distant relative were.  To make a long story short, I was completely unsuccessful.

But, that night of "googling" unveiled to me the vast number of genealogy sites that were on the internet.  Somehow, I ended up joining that night for a "free 7 day trial".   Since I failed in finding my English relatives in western Colorado, I started checking to see just who in my family I could find records for online in the limited time my family has been in the US.  That is when I came across my dad's birth certificate.

Now, there were no surprises on the certificate.  The surprise for me was that I was able to find something like that so easily.   My father would be (and was) a bit dismayed to find out I had gotten a digital copy of it off the internet.[1] 

My grandfather has always just been a name to me.  Yes, he was my father's dad, but even my father never met him.  He died sometime in the months before my dad was born.  So, if I could find a birth certificate from 1935 online, why couldn't I find a death certificate from the same year?

AND I DID![2]   My first breakthrough.  And for the first time in my life I saw the names of my great grandparents.

That was the moment I got sucked in.  I didn't sleep much that night.

[1] If you know my father, his copy is locked away in a vault somewhere for sure. 
[2] "Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 15 Sep 2014), Death certificates > 1935 > Vol 074, certificates 036501-037000, Aug, Bexar-Comanche counties > image 334 of 521; citing State Registrar Office, Austin.


  1. It's so very addictive... glad you found some success...I learned quite a bit about research from my grandfather the old ways and wow, what a difference. No wonder so many people are enjoying it now.

    1. Wow Larissa! I find it hard to imagine what it would have been like to try and do this before computers and the internet. Glad I became interested in the digital age, but that means I missed the opportunity to ask questions to an entire generation.