10 March 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy: Week 10 - Genealogy Road Trips

Week 10Genealogy Road Trips: No two genealogy road trips are the same but they’re always fun and meaningful. Describe a memorable trip in your past. Where did you go? What did you find (or not find)? Did you meet any new cousins? What did the trip mean to you and your family?

In June 2006, I went with my girlfriend on a genealogy road trip to Clinton, IA. It was our first trip together after meeting on eHarmony a few months earlier. It was my first trip to Clinton since I had discovered that it was where my two sets of Irish great-great-grandparents had settled. Anne Marie also had a connection to Clinton that I stumbled across while doing preparatory research. Her grandfather had been in the house moving business and had moved a 26-room mansion up the side of a hill in Clinton in 1902. It took three months to move the house eleven blocks and up the side of a very large and steep hill. The path was near where my great-great-grandfather, John Kennedy was living and both men were Irish Catholics, so it's possible that our ancestors met over a century before us.

The trip was wonderful. We went to the Clinton library where I visited the Roots Cellar genealogy resource for the first time. I gathered a ton of useful information and only managed to scratch the surface of what is available there. The librarian was very help and was even able to provide Anne Marie with lots of information on the Lamb House. She let us know that the house had burned down a few years before, so we weren't able to see it, but we did visit the site where it was moved to and followed the route the house had taken. We still marvel over how they got it up the side of that hill.

We also visited the sites of my ancestors' farms, which were adjacent to each other, the Catholic churches my ancestors were associated with, the county historical society and the cemetery, where we found the grave markers of my ancestors and other relatives.

That weekend there was a big hot air balloon festival in town. On Sunday morning, we went for the early morning mass launch of dozens of balloons. A most impressive sight.

All in all, it was a marvelous time filled with laughter. I enjoyed myself so much that I decided that Anne Marie was someone I would enjoy spending the rest of my life with. A few months later I proposed to her. She accepted and we were married in Sept. 2007.

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