My research began with my mother’s side of the family. I suppose like most children, I knew my mother’s side more than my father’s side. I started the tree with myself and then my mother’s side. Her mother’s surname was Rich from Marshall, Missouri and Her father was a Lewis from Idabel, Oklahoma.

Rich is not a common surname, so I figured it would be easy. Getting started can be confusing, to say the least. My cup of tea is I started there. Like I tell most people, you actually have to pay for the real subscription in order to get anywhere. Yes, they offer the free trial, however, that is made to lure you in. I signed up for Ancestry on March 14, 2005.

 I started with what I knew, the Rich Side.  I found her side was the easiest. My Grandmother only had 4 kids. The family spoke often of Grandmother’s parents. Baby and Grandpa, That’s all they would say and Speak of. Not too hard. I went over to the Lewis side of the family. Well….that side wasn’t too easy. My mother didn’t know too much. My mother knew that he had a half-sister that lived in Wichita, KS and that was basically it, oh, and that he was raised by his grandparents because his mother died at an early age. That wasn’t a whole lot of help. (Sidenote: in this research world, it be like that, a lot of times, you just don’t have too much information to go off of.)

 I was trying to fill out the 7 Generation Pedigree Chart.

Then I went to My father’s side. Well, I grew up with my Grandma, I never had a paternal grandfather. As a kid, I figured as long as I had one on my maternal side, then I was good. In my adolescence, I always assumed that my father’s dad was dead, that’s why he never spoke of him. I figured his name was Brotha Mose, my Grandma’s last husband. Hence, My last name is Moses.

Circa May 2005, my daughter and I was living back home at dad’s house, and as I was filling out my 7-generation tree, I went to ask my dad a question and I will never forget, he was sitting at his desk with his eyes closed and he was listening and singing along to Luther Vandross’ song, “Dance With My Father”.

I stood there in awe, I’m sure he heard me coming down the stairs but he was in an indescribable trans. I waited until the song faded off and I asked, expecting him to answer “Brotha Mose”, “Daddy, Who IS your father? I’m filling out my tree.” He bluntly responded…….” I don’t know and at this point, I don’t even care.”

In my head, my jaw dropped, but in real life, I played it cooh. “Oh, I thought Brotha Mose was your dad?” “No”, he quickly answered…. And there it was my first capital X on my chart. Now the search was ON. I wasn’t going to be able to take a simple “No” for an answer. How am I supposed to fill out my chart without a name? This is a hinder. I can’t get to my 4th Great Grandfather if I can’t even get past my Grandfather…….so unfair….

I knew my paternal Grandma’s name but had NO idea WHERE she was born, her parents’ names, her birth year, nothing. I called my grandma to ask her these simple questions and she told me “I was born in Canada, Why are you asking?!” I’m thinking like really Grandma?! Out of All of the bogus answers she could give me, Canada?! Remind you this is in 2005, she basically told me to quit asking her questions because she didn’t want to think of such depressing times.

Oooookkk, well, I’ll come back to that. So I just did the people that I DID know, I added all of her children and birthdays, and my tree grew from there. Over the years, I went back and forth between the two sides of my family tree.

*Important Tip: Create ONE tree ONLY for your family, not “Mother’s Side” and “Father’s Side”. The reason for one tree is that you will find yourself working double, adding yourself and your siblings to both trees and following the hints on both trees. Also, as you get deeper into your research, you will find that we are all cousins in the end, and many times, you will find that families tend to marry each other, creating double cousins. For example, 2 brothers may marry 2 sisters.

Yes, this journey is VERY time-consuming, brain working, must have logical thinking, pay attention to details, read carefully, use basic math, have patience, be willing to delete and start over, make the drive to another city or state, have an open mind, be willing to cry, put in the work, BASICALLY, just get started! The trade of time is DEFINITELY worth it and truly life Changing!!!! Trust Me, It’s Hands Down, the BEST Soap Opera you will EVER Watch!!!

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