Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Decisions, Decisions...

It's time to make a decision. I can't begin writing up a family history until I decide which branch of my family to write about. I've been giving it some thought. A lot of thought, actually. But I just can't seem to make a decision. I'm mentally drumming my fingers here.

I'm at about the same spot with the research for each of my four grandparents' lines. Which is to say, I've accessed all the vital records back in Poland that I can and unless I want to pay a professional genealogist in Poland to look for some sort of school, military, or real estate records (if there are any) I've pretty much exhausted my research. I've found family in Poland from 3 of my 4 grandparents' lines who have helped me with family stories and such. I've been doing a lot of online reading recently about the villages my ancestors were from and the churches they attended. I'm not sure what else I might look for. When you come from a long line of peasants (as far back as records go), which are about equal to slaves except that they were bought and sold with land instead of individually, you don't find a lot of information written about your ancestors. They might have been outstanding individuals but because of their status as peasants they were valued down there with cattle. Not to be unkind but they were illiterate farmers who lived and died in the little villages were they were born.

With each of my lines I have some information I'm waiting on. But I don't think that situation will ever end. There will always be something more I'm hoping to learn. I can't put off writing the family histories indefinitely though. At some point I have to draw the line and just go with what I've got, right?

I'm thinking I'll end up with 3 family histories in all. My paternal grandparents came from very similar little villages that are only 18 miles apart by road, <10 miles apart as the crow flies. The history of the area is virtually the same for both families so I'm thinking I'll write about both families in one history book. My maternal grandparents, however, came from very different areas of Poland so I think I'll write separate histories for each of them. Since my ancestors came to America just 2 generations before me, and I don't want to write about my still-living relatives, there is a limited amount of information I can write about in the recent past.

So here I am just about ready to dive into the project but I can't make up my mind which pond to dive into. Anybody got any suggestions? Who's already gone this route and written up their family history? How did you decide which branch to start with? Got any advice you'd care to share with me about the project?

I'm hoping to make a decision by the end of this week and start pulling information together next week. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!