Influencers in My Family History

Influencers in My Family History

Two very separate events have kind of taken over my thoughts this past week. A while back I was downstairs in the treasure room and I came across a letter written by my grandparents to the Church asking a question about how to pursue a family line in England. Attached to the letter was the response from someone in the Genealogical Department of the Church in Salt Lake City. The letter was dated around 1974. The instructions included an address for a contact at some library in London who they were certain could put them in contact with someone atClick to continue…

All Family History is Social

All Family History is Social

My DNA results are in. They came in quite unexpectedly, less than 4 weeks after I had sent off my sample. As expected, they have revealed so far no huge surprises. My heritage is dominantly British with a very healthy representation of Mormon Pioneers. Shocker. But even if I had not known that before I was still thrilled to get these results. In the past couple of days since the results arrived I can tell you without reservation that my family history efforts have now risen to an all new level. You see, now I am connected via DNA toClick to continue…

The Harm in Do No Harm

The Harm in Do No Harm

During a presentation at Roots Tech about writing histories my sister-in-law shared some direction the presenter gave about writing history of family members with less-than-sterling details in their lives. The presenter urged family historians to “do no harm” when writing histories. This spurred considerable discussion between us. It is a thought that continues to trouble me. Every family is going to have their share of horse thieves, children born out of wedlock, and records of family members found in jails and insane asylums. Do we skip over such facts out of respect for the idea of “do no harm”? ThisClick to continue…

Never Trust a Web Site

Never Trust a Web Site

If there is one thing I am profoundly grateful for over the course of the past four years with this website it is the number of Westovers out there who have reached out to me through it. I’ve met so many wonderful people – distant cousins who I likely never would have otherwise known. We live in an age where such far flung connections are possible. As I continue my research into DNA research I find the miracle in that work is completely tied to making instant connections online. In another time it just would not have been possible. ButClick to continue…

Westover Family Tree Back to the Year 985

Westover Family Tree Back to the Year 985

How does 31 generations sound to you? Awesome, huh? About a year a half ago I was thrilled to visit Family Search one day to see our paternal Westover line magically extended another 500 years and terminate with the name Siegfried De Sponheim, who was born in 985. That name was added by Family Search, which means they had actual records from that time and place to stick the name on our line. That makes it legit, right? Well, it turns out old Siegfried was just the latest name in the Leiningen family, part of ancient German nobility. They ruledClick to continue…