With St. Pat's Day this past weekend, I began to wonder about where my family came from. What nationalities make me who I am and how far back I could trace my genealogy. Then I thought, maybe I don't want to know who my ancestors are. What if they were not so nice? Oh well, my ancestors are not me and I know my ideologies and morals put me in a higher bracket than some from our history
As far back as I can remember, I have wondered about where my family came from. I've talked with great aunts and uncles plus my mom and dad, but they can only tell me so much. Both grandmothers had passed away before I was born and my Dad's dad died when I was two and my Mom's dad lived in another state and we didn't see him much.
I used Centennial Books from Ayrshire and the Methodist Church in Ayrshire and Curlew and got some information but I could never go back any farther than my paternal Great Grandparents. The maternal side was going to be much harder and so my focus through the years has been on the Gravlund/Dyer side of the family. But when you are younger, a person really doesn't have the patience to do all the research needed to trace a family tree, at least that was my case. I would do research for a week or two and then give up for quite some time.
In the last few months, I have been looking through the newspaper archives through the public library and found obituaries for my Great-Great Grandfather and Grandmother Dyer. It was eye opening to realize that Great-Great Grandfather Samuel Dyer II was one of the first settlers in Palo Alto County in 1869 and his wife Mary Ann (Edwards) Dyer and her family also settled in the county in the early 1870s. I decided to dig out my copy of the History of Palo Alto County and sure enough Samuel Dyer is listed as an early settler.
I decided it was time to dig further. With all the information on the Internet, I figured I should be able to find something. Well, I'm one of those people that refuse to pay for access to a website. Especially because there are so many out there which are free. All of the free sites I went to have led me back to the most expensive genealogy site that I know of Ancestry.com. Fortunately, they offer a 14-day trial offer for free, so I signed up. (I just need to remember to cancel before the 14 days are up.) At $389 a year, I really can't justify the expense.
Anyway, I have since been able to trace my family tree, on the Dyer side, back seven generations to William Dyer and Rose Roseaman born in 1655 and 1659 respectively. Of course there are some discrepancies that will need further research, but as of now it seems that this side of my family all came from the area of Cornwall, England. I didn't find any kings or queens in my family tree, but I didn't find any murders or horse thief's either and I did find a Baron on the Gravlund side from Norway.
One really fun bit of information is that I know exactly where my Great-Great- Great Grandfather Samuel Dyer I took a homestead in Great Oak Township in 1869. Unfortunately, he passed away before proving on the land, so his son Samuel Dyer II took over the homestead and proved on it. Back in the 1870s when Samuel Dyer I passed away, there were many small plots on the family farm. This was where he was buried along with a baby of a couple that passed by in a covered wagon. This family cemetery is long gone, but the history of what my ancestors accomplished will live on forever.
I hope that someday everyone takes time to look into his or her genealogy. You never know what or whom you will find in your family tree.