I Could Write a Book About… My Family History

I could write a book about... | In Pursuit of Simple

I have recently fallen into the pit of Ancestry.com.

I call it a pit, because it is absolutely impossible to close my browser window when that little hint leaf is taunting me with more information about my family’s past.

Lineage has been coming up a lot more recently in our household as we start to think about our honeymoon. We will be spending a week in Germany and a week in Italy because Mike and I took these languages, respectively, in college. But we are also excited to travel to Germany because both of our families hail from the land of beer and schnitzel.

But while Mike can tell me exactly where his family lived before they came to the United States, I just had my grandfather’s last name and Google. So when Ancestry.com popped up, I decided to try their 15-day free trial. What could I possibly lose?

Hours and hours of my free time. That’s what.

More than a decade ago, my uncle started to track my mother’s side of our family tree, and took notes on what he found. Unfortunately, he passed away from pancreatic cancer before he could dive too deep into the past. I figured that I would be able to start my tree using the information he had found, and hoped that the time that has passed and the technology that has advanced would give me more to go off of.

I was right.

I was up until 1 a.m. last night clicking through my family tree, trying to figure out if I was adding the right people and calling my dad to ask about family names.

Family Tree | In Pursuit of Simple

I’ve been talking my fiance’s ear off about the interesting things I’ve been finding:


  • If my research is correct, I have a 13th great-grandfather named Urban Zolly (Zolli) and an 8th great-grandmother named Magdalena Rebel. Uh… amazing? Think my fiance will allow me to name our firstborn Urban Rebel?
  • I have relatives from England. Previously I’d thought that they had only come from Germany and Ireland.
  • There have been some beautiful names in my direct line, like Lena, Magdalena, Katharina, Johan, Hans, Burkhard, and Elisabetha.
  • My line goes back to Baden-Wuerttemberg Germany. Finally a dot to put on the map!

I’m sad that in order to unlock foreign hints that you need to upgrade to a monthly account because I can’t see myself making a monthly investment, but I am so happy that the free trial has allowed me to discover so much about my family’s history. I’m going to be incredibly sad when it ends.

There are so many family stories we lose when loved ones pass away. I could probably write 10 books on my family’s past, but just because I find ancestry fascinating, but because I think every family story is important enough to share with the next generation.


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  1. I’m lucky that my auntie and my father-in-law have put in the time on family history on their respective sides. So the footwork has already been done for me. But it is incredibly fascinating. I personally love the name Magdalena Rebel. I would totally recommend bringing that back!

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