About Me

I'm Jen Rickards aka Auntie Jen! Welcome to my blog. I chose the name Auntie Jen because my nephews always refer to me as Auntie. It's also a name that I've used in the past for one of my great Aunt's that I was very close to. And who do you always get the greatest stories and information from? Your crazy Aunt, of course. Aunt's always seems to have not only the best stories, but the most secrets and my research as definitely unearthed plenty.
I first got into genealogy in 2012. I had just moved back to Missouri from Colorado in 2011 and my grandma was wanting to pass special things along to me since she was getting along in years. Along with her special costume jewelry and figurines, she gave me a couple of boxes of old photos. She knew how much I loved photos. I'd never seen these before. They were just thrown into the boxes, no rhyme or reason. Some where water damaged, torn or just not in very good condition. The photos that were in good condition had a lot of people that were unknown to me. My grandma's mind was not as sharp as it used to be. There were days when she had clear memories, and others when she didn't. Mom knew some of the photos, but not all of them. Some photos dated back as the early as the 1900s. Wow! So I decided to take on the daunting task of labeling these photos.
     I knew the first thing I needed to do was to create a tree. I started filling in names and dates I knew. One thing that helped tremendously was a little date book that had been passed down. Half of it was written in German, the other half translated. That helped with tracing back to my 3x great grandma. Once I started plugging in names and getting leaves and documents, I was hooked.
     Now I'm working on both mine and my husband's family trees. I've been able to trace most family members back to when they first came to the United States. I've found cases of murder and insanity. I've found war heroes and interesting stories about run-ins with historical figures. But probably one of the most exciting things I've found is more family than I ever thought I had. I found other side of my grandma's family, whom I never knew existed before. That was one of the most exciting finds.
     My dad likes to ask me, "How far are you going to trace back?" Well, my first goal was to just put names to photos. Then it was to trace back to when the family first came to the United States. Yeah, that didn't stop me. I have traced family now in France and Germany. Honestly, I don't know if I ever will stop. There is always one more thing to find. While I'm able to research, I will keep researching. I have started doing family trees for friends now as well just because I love doing the research.
     The purpose of this blog is to share my journey through genealogy. I'm hoping the information I gather about my family will be helpful to other possibly researching the same line. I will also share tips I've learned about doing genealogy research as well as information about local history and how to find certain records. Thank you for checking out my blog and I hope you follow along with me as I climb my trees to see what kind of nuts fall out.