Welcome to the ‘Posting family roots’ blog! My name is Susan Posten Ellerbee and I am the designated family genealogist. I have been doing genealogy for 20+ years. My primary research focus has been on the families of my parents and my parents-in-law, specifically:
- Posten (dad’s family) – Northeast Pennsylvania & New Jersey with French origins on his mother’s side.
- Tucker (mom’s family) – New York with German origins on her mother’s side.
- Ellerbee (father-in-law’s family) – Texas, Alabama, Georgia with English & Scandinavian origins.
- Johnson (mother-in-law’s family) – Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, with English & Irish origins.
I am starting this blog to catch up with my Genealogy Do-Over, hosted by Thomas MacAntee, http://www.geneabloggers.com/tag/genealogy-do-over
After 20+ years of genealogy, my files (both digital and paper) are a mess! Re-organization and improving research techniques are the overall goals for the next year.
My history as a genealogist
Like most of us, as a child, I heard family stories from mom, dad, grandparents and other relatives. And, like many, I acted like I was interested then went on to other things. As an adult, I had a unique opportunity when I decided to attend graduate school at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. I attended a beginners’ genealogy class between formal courses and classwork. I bought an early version of the Personal Ancestral File (PAF) program on a floppy disk for use on our now archaic 40 MB home computer.
Finally, I began really listening to my parents and writing it down. I also began tracking information from my in-laws. The result was 4 notebooks, multiple pedigree charts and family group sheets. The internet opened a entire new world of information and contacts. Two children meant that genealogy work was intermittent, at best, during the next 10-15 years. My parents’ deaths ( in 1998 and 2007) temporarily closed those sources of information.
In 2008, I asked for, and received a copy of Family Tree Maker software program. At about the same time, I discovered the Ancestry online website. My research became a little more organized. Then, in 2010, a chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution was formed in our community. Family oral history from my dad’s great-aunt showed a Revolutionary War patriot ancestor. This would be easy! Well, the named ancestor, Jacob Posten, might be related but I am not directly descended from him. That is a story for another time! I was able to trace lineage to another Revolutionary War patriot through dad’s mother’s grandmother and I became an official Daughter of the American Revolution in 2011. A first draft of dad’s family history was written and sent to his youngest sister, the last of the 6 children still alive. (Note: This history needs serious revision!)
Genealogy then turned to my in-laws, to fulfill a promise made to them. The results were scrapbooks for each of them — a new hobby found! I traced my father-in-law’s mother’s family to North Carolina in 1780s. Branches of my mother-in-law’s family were traced to early 1800s/ late 1700s Maryland.
My research techniques became sloppy and scattered. I relied mainly on one or two online websites and did not routinely check sources for consistency and reliability. Research logs? Practically non-existent. Searching at 2:00 am for the father-in-law of the stepson of a 3rd cousin? Been there, done that! Need a copy of a census record? Just print it, then discover that I already have 2 copies. Which brings me to one purpose of this blog – to document progress in my Genealogy do-over.
In my next blog, I will start with Month 1 activities. See you then!