I love exploring my family tree. I first came to genealogy when I took a course on the family in history taught by Philip Greven at Rutgers. He required that we all compile trees and essays based on our own family history for class. This project got me talking to all of my grandparents (and one grandparent’s brother since my paternal grandfather wasn’t interested in remembering the past.) And I loved the stories. I dutifully put them together into my first family tree done out with pencil and copied over in marker across seven feet of butcher paper. Most of my grandparents had some information on their own great grandparents. Five generations back from me — in living memory — I was hooked!
After that first foray into genealogy, I kept asking for stories but didn’t spend any time digging deeper (these were pre-internet days when searches took time and commitment.) I returned to genealogy when I started teaching a course called Multicultural U.S. History. I was looking for a way to get my students inspired. I was frequently faced with a question from students: what does multicultural history have to do with me today? So I decided to do a family history project as a way to bridge that gap. And it worked out great. Together my students and I were able to take advantage of all the resources that had become available on the internet and to place our families into wider narratives of multicultural history.
I am now on my third foray into genealogy. And this time school has nothing to do with it. I am just following my passions for family, for details, for organization, and for making the past real.
If we share ancestors I would love to hear from you! The Greenwood (Boisvert) family line was unknown to me until fall 2012. Did your family know, or are you new to the tree too? Where is your branch living now? What has your line been up to?
If we don’t share ancestors, I would be happy to hear from you also. Surely, we share an interest or two!
I can be reached at climbinggreenwood at gmail . com