Bradenton, FL – If you’ve ever been to a family wedding, it’s astounding how many people you’ll discover are related to you. It’s even more remarkable when you consider how many things had to happen for you to be you.
Genealogy is the study of families and the tracing of their lineage through history. Dora Meyer is the author of two books on her family history and is currently working on a third.
“Your family tree goes back as far as you can take it,” says Meyer. “I’ve gone back to the 1500s on my father’s side and 1600s on my mother’s side. I’ll learn something and wonder, ‘What was life like at that time?’ and I’m off."
Meyer grew up in Lafayette, Indiana, the granddaughter of three Dutch immigrants and great-granddaughter of two more. Her genealogy traces her family through her maiden name Hockema (originally Hoekema), which can be traced back to the Northern part of Holland.
“When I learned I had a unique family who were all Dutch, I was fascinated,” recalls Meyer. “As I worked back through time, I could to see the differences in how people lived and how dramatically our lives have changed."
According to Meyer, genealogy is like writing a book: you need to get away from away from any distraction because the information can get confusing very quickly.
“I’ve been fortunate. The two sides of my family aren’t particularly huge, but sometimes you discover things in the course of your research that throws a wrench. You do the best you can.”
Attempting a genealogy project requires a profound respect for history. Meyer suggests joining a genealogy society where people can explain the challenges they’ve experienced in their own research. They have a wealth of information to encourage you and it’s an excellent way to start.
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