Researching your roots


My grandmother came from a very large family, one that I knew very little about. Growing up, she has told me stories here and there, including those about her oldest brother who fought and lost his life in WWII. She never mentioned more than that because, as it turns out, she never really knew what happened. I didn’t get to see my family much during the pandemic, so I decided to make up for that by delving into and learning about my family’s history.

Thanks to my Princeton Public Library card, this task was simple. I used a handful of our genealogy resources, including Ancestry Library Edition and Fold3. Not only did I learn about where I came from, but connecting with the past helped me to connect with the present. Because of the library’s databases, I was able to find out that my great uncle was killed in action at Normandy. Military reports and documents detailed what happened, including his burial in Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France. 

My grandmother never knew exactly what happened to her brother or where he was buried. But thanks to these resources and my local library, I was able to tell her. It was an emotional experience, but one that allowed us to bond as she told stories of her childhood. Researching your roots is a simple, yet powerful thing. I learned to appreciate the people who came before me and my family’s place in history. By doing so, I have a new appreciation for where we are now. After a year and a half filled with worry and uncertainty, I’ve come to realize that it’s the people in my life who are most important.

Photo by Cheryl Winn-Boujnida on Unsplash


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