52 Ancestors: Start


This year I want to focus more on documenting and sharing my ancestry, in the hopes it will inspire others to do the same, or even help people with their own breakthroughs. Using the prompts provided by Amy Johnson Crow, each week I will share something about my own family history. This week: start.

I am unable to pinpoint the exact time I decided to begin tracing my family history, but once I began, I was hooked. I built a tree on Ancestry and love trying to grow it. I began about eight years ago, and just last month I had a big breakthrough and was able to grow my line on my mom’s side. It’s exciting to see records online and finding family members.

My dad and paternal grandma did a lot of research on their own lines, so I was able to get a large jump on that side of my family.

Gerald Eby family

My grandparents, Gerald and Veva Eby, with their children, my dad Richard and his sister Susan.

My maternal grandma also researched a lot, but I do not have access to this, so I basically have started from scratch. My mom was able to fill in some names, but her side is a little more challenging. Only one of her grandparents was born in the U.S., and right after her parents immigrated from Germany. Her maternal grandfather was also from Germany, and her paternal grandparents immigrated from Canada.

Ida Gall and family

My great-grandmother Ida Gall with her family: her son John, his wife Barbara, and their daughter Bobbie, along with my mom Margaret, her brother Peter, and Ida’s daughter (and my grandma) Pauline and my grandpa William McCallum.

That’s a funny thing about my ancestry: I am fifth generation Oregonian (from my paternal grandma’s line), but only third generation American on my mom’s side. I love that family history not only shows where you came from, but just how everything had to fall into place for you to exist. I am at awe at the fact that if one of my ancestors wouldn’t have immigrated or moved or been at the right place at the right time, I would not be here. And to me that is the most incredible thing about family history.