I am a Twig on the family tree.

                            I am the root of the future.

         By: Anne Bowie

One of the primary components of any functional government, religion or organization is trust. We have an instinctive need to trust, both collectively and individually. As we research our family histories we can see that people “get out of town” when trust breaks down. My family in Baden-Wurtternberg couldn’t trust that the River Rhine would not cause flooding and ruin their crops again. They couldn’t trust that their son wouldn’t be sent to yet another war. They came to America. My family in Ireland could no longer trust the Government to feed the masses because of the potato famine. They came to America.

My family in Bavaria knew their country couldn’t give them the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. They came to America and found that gold. My family in Switzerland couldn’t support its large family and sent its youngest male child to the new world to lead the way for the others. The eldest son inherited the farm. Conrad sailed for America, the others followed. Dr. Cuff brought his family to New York from Bristol, England in the 1840’s because he trusted our soil to yield his dream of a better life. The stories go on and on.

We trust those we elect to office to do what they say for our sakes and not theirs and when they disappoint us we are know from past abuses not to trust. We become disoriented and as a society we search for another avenue for our need to trust. It is human. It is necessary. Unfortunately it takes decades to realize the breakdown. We see it clearly only when we look back. When we research our family trees and it becomes personal. We know. Oh, yes, we know!

It will be years ahead of us for the world to see that our sacrifices now and our fight against terrorism is a fight necessary to regain the trust we all knew in our youth, in our family past and in our hearts. We still want to trust. We hang on to our loyalties. It will slip away and our “America” won’t be the promised land or the hoped dream unless we stop trusting and take a hand in creating a safe new world for our future roots, our future branches and our future blossoms.

The deeper you research and find the struggle your ancestors went through, the wars, famine, crusades, poverty and even their excessive wealth you won’t be able to ignore their quality of lives. You will be able to see that sometimes they didn’t see the consequences of their actions but you can. You can put it all together and it is your responsibility as family historians to guide the future researchers to own a better life for themselves and their families because they will see the mistakes of their ancestors and say “Ah ha.”

Don’t forget about the American Family Immigration History Center at Ellis Island. Search the immigration records at: There are other links from this site.

There is a Cemetery Records Search that I like. It lists states and counties which makes it easier to search ALL your ancestors just by following down the list and stopping from time to time at a County Cemetery that may have an ancestor there. Go to They have some online Census Images there and a few links to other sites.

Go to Access Free Genealogy, which includes the free cemetery records listed above for other free items and biographies at They include free online surname books, histories, military records, Native American genealogies, recent Native American history and genealogy , a site directory, US Genealogy and World Genealogy section.

The Family History Library is undergoing extensive remodeling. The changes are very exciting, including a computer training area, additional patron research and more computers. Everyone who is researching their pedigree should plan at least one trip to Salt Lake City, Utah in his lifetime to experience the researcher’s dream come true. Every few years I create my now famous spreadsheet of things to search for there and spend at least four days doing just that. I always stay at the Travelodge Motel with walking distance from the library and “pig out” on the experience. See you there.


Sierra Sage, June 2004 by: Anne Bowie

(775) 882-8258 or online at

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