No, we’re not pregnant.
I’ve been tinkering with genealogy off and on for probably a dozen years. My dad accomplished a tremendous amount of work in thirty years doing things the old-fashioned way. He’d have been stunned with the information available online now. When he first got online, it was with a 1200 baud modem, and that cost about $40 a month, I seem to recall. Plus long distance charges. I know he never saw a personal web site, but I feel fairly certain he’d approve of the way I’m displaying his research and our family history.
I keep a family history online for a number of reasons. If I’m doing research at a library, I’m almost certain to have internet access. I’m more likely to have access than I am to have my laptop with me. Keeping it online makes it easier to collaborate with other members of my family, since they’ll be able to see what I’ve got, and make corrections and additions to their records or mine as needed.
I also do it so people who happen to be researching the same families can find me. My dad accomplished a lot, but there are still branches of the tree that have no leaves, as it were. For example, a couple of weeks ago I got an email from someone with information about my great-great-great maternal grandmother. He’s almost certainly related, but we haven’t quite figured out where or how yet. It will certainly be interesting to track that one down.
My great-grandfather John Carl Mueller came from a family of eight, born between 1839 and 1854. My grandfather Robert Mueller visited John Carl’s brother Philipp in New Jersey in 1912, on Robert’s honeymoon. My dad wrote:
Henry Mueller, or “Uncle Henry,” was living in Newark, N. J., when Robert and Leona Mayer Mueller visited them during their wedding trip in the fall of 1912. A picture taken at that time apparently shows the three daughters of Henry and his wife. There are or were letters exchanged between the Henry Muellers and the Robert Muellers around the time of the visit. One of the letters is dated “Newark, N. J. Dec. 2, 1912,” and is signed by a Maude Mueller, one of Henry’s daughters. No further address in Newark is given, and all contact with this branch of the family has been lost for many years.
Today I heard from Philipp’s great-great granddaughter. Philipp had 7 children, and he lived with his brother August, whom my dad’s family also lost contact with.
It’s an odd swirl of feelings when something like this happens. I’m thrilled to make contact with someone new, especially when they seem to have lots of information that I don’t. But it’s bittersweet when I think about everything that both families missed out on: Births. Weddings. Firsts. Victories. Defeats. Funerals.
Joy is doubled when it’s shared, and heartbreak is halved when others bear the burden. I hope as descendants of Johann Heinrich Mueller and Susanna Gertrude Wenzel rediscover each other, they can reunite to share those burdens and joys.