To know the story of our family’s early beginnings – where they lived, worked and what their daily lives entailed is what prompts many of us to begin researching our family history. Pat Ness had done some family research but it wasn’t until she acquired a computer for her high school daughter that her interest really grew. She remembers turning the computer on one night to ‘see what the computer was all about’ and stumbled upon a free 2 week Ancestry.com trial subscription. Sounded interesting . . . “that did it”, she says – “I got hooked”.
For the next 14 days, Pat was on the computer at the Ancestry website until the wee hours of the morning and ultimately developed a passion for genealogy that has continued for over 20 years.. She learned her ancestors were from Scotland, Ireland, England, Wales and Germany. In 1842, distant family members first came to Oregon by covered wagon. Years later, her fraternal grandparents divorced in Texas when her dad was young, and he relocated to California with his mother. As a result, knowledge of his family history was always limited. For Pat, this was an ideal starting point for her research. Gradually, while sharing research results with her brother, he too became interested in genealogy. He is currently researching and writing a book on their fraternal grandmother’s family (Stephenson) and researching his wife’s family.
Family Roots in Florence
In 2000, Pat and her husband moved to Florence from the Eugene area. During her research, she discovered 4 family members (Lilly, Warden, Rankin, Stephenson) had also lived in Florence at one time. Chasing clues to validate family stories, Pat has traveled throughout Washington to locate family records, and view homes or property once owned by family members of long ago.
After verifying her research data, Pat enters the information into Family Tree. She has printed, and pasted together the pages to reveal an impressive, detailed family tree worksheet.
With more records becoming available each week, Pat’s advice to anyone facing a brickwall while researching, is to “just stick with it – if you have a rock, keep trying.” She recalls many unsuccessful years of researching her maternal great grandfather who had come to the United States from Germany. She knew he died in Chicago, and where he was buried, but little else. “One day, while performing a search, it suddenly popped up where his family was in Germany. Then another day, information on the boat he arrived on.”
Click below to hear Pat tell about her break through.
Pat Ness has been a member of the Siuslaw Genealogy Society for 10 years, and a member of DAR for the past 2 years. She dedicates one afternoon a week at the library as a genealogy researcher, assists at the annual Family History Day event and helps maintain research books in the Siuslaw room. As a researcher, she introduces newcomers to Ancestry.com, usually beginning with census records to obtain dates and locations of where a family member may have lived. She has found the experience to be highly rewarding, and enjoys guiding them down a logical path from viewing currently available records to locating family historical records.