I love learning about my ancestry. As a kid I always heard stories, especially whenever we visited my mom's parents at Smith Mountain Lake. My uncle Kenny has done lots of research of his parents' sides of the family. He has published two books about the two sides (can be found at libraries across VA), and he always adds updates to the books when he finds them. It was a huge project for him..he had to do tons of research and I have heard him say several times that it was like opening up a can of worms. Or Pandora's box..
That's the fun in genealogy, though. The research never really ends. Reading through the books my uncle wrote are really moving for me-it's so nice reading my great grandfather's journal entries, and reading other stories that my grandfather told. There are also some photos in the books, which are so neat to see.
My grandfather was Ira Runyon. His parents (my great grandparents) were Benjamin Runyon & Lillian Reed. Benjamin Runyon's father was George Runyon (my great great grandfather)-he died mysteriously in Dakota Territory around 1892-not much else is known about what happened to him. George Runyon's parents were Richard Runyon (b. 1827) & Margaret Herrick (b. 1830); my great great great grandparents. I don't know anything else about them. Benjamin Runyon's mother was Maria Corlies (my great great grandmother). The known line of ancestry goes back a little farther at this point-her parents were John Corlies & Deborah Cook (my great great great grandparents). John Corlies' parents were Samuel Corlies & Charlotte Taber, and Deborah Cook's parents were James Cook & Mary Williamson (these people are my great great great great grandparents on my maternal-paternal-maternal side..) :) All of these people were around AFTER 1795. So it's a young family.
But then we get into my grandmother's side of the family. The Kagey side.
My grandmother was Orpha Kagey. Her parents (my great grandparents) were Lewis Kagey & Gertrude Lloyd.
My uncle has done extensive research on the Kagey line, and he just recently started doing more research on the Lloyd side. My uncle has traced the Kagey line all the way back to the first Kagey (in our line) who came over to America from Zurich, Switzerland.
My great great great great great great grand father was John Rudolph H Kagy-born in 1695 from Zurich, Switzerland. He came to America and settled in Lancaster, PA. He met his wife there-Rebecca Patterson. She was born in York, PA in 1690. They had some children and as they got older they moved to Shenandoah County, Virginia. Their children and grandchildren had married and had children of their own before everyone moved to Shenandoah Co, VA. Peter Kagey was John R H Kagey's great great grandson-he was also my great great great grandfather. He was born in 1807 in Shenandoah, and his great grandson is Lewis Russell Kagey-my great grandfather (my grandmother's father). Lewis R Kagey was born in 1876 and died in 1943. He had 14 children with his wife Gertrude Lloyd, my grandmother being the youngest daughter.
This picture of my great grandfather Lewis Russel Kagey really makes me happy. He is holding my mom's cousin Peggy (one of his granddaughters). I wish I could have met him. You can tell by the photo that he worked every day of his life, and he had to to feed 14+ children and himself & his wife. The house they lived in still stands to this day..I would love to visit it one day.
Isn't it amazing how many ancestors you really have? Growing up I was only ever aware of grandparents..maybe a couple great grandparents (only ever met one of them who lived to be 100), aunts & uncles, and some great aunts and uncles. But that's it. I now know who many of my great+ grandparents were. While I may not have ever met them, reading through my uncle's books really makes me feel more connected to them.
I love history-and it's also neat to read about the times these people lived in. What was going on in the world when they were alive?
One day I made a time line to show exactly what was going on. It was very eye-opening to know that my grandmother herself was born even before the Great Depression-and knowing she & all of her 13 brothers and sisters had to endure what people did during that time.
It really gives you a strong feeling of thankfulness-so thankful to be alive during this time, and also very very thankful for everything your ancestors did in order to ensure such a great life/future for you. And they didn't even know me or know that I would exist..