I got my mother into doing some genealogy research on her side of the family and she’s uncovered the fact that we are directly related by blood to Nicholas Knapp (Knap) (1606-1670), who arrived with his brother, William Knapp, from England to settle in Connecticut. Thrilled with the historical connections dating back that far, we dove into our Knapp family history with glee, tracking back from Seattle, Washington, to Taylor Rapid, Michigan, Indiana, Ottawa, Canada, and to the East Coast of the United States.
Four days later, the stack of paper spewing out of the printer has grown to five inches and a trip to the local LDS Family History Center added a half a dozen GEDCOM files to import and sort through.
I decided to import the largest GEDCOM file first, thinking that this would give me the most information and then I could add in the missing information from there. Start big, work small.
The fact that the file size was over eight megabytes didn’t deter me. I’m used to working with large file sizes, though not with GEDCOM files, which are really glorified text files with a lot of code that instructs a genealogy software program where to put which bit of data in the database. So 8MB of text is a LOT when you really give it some thought. However, I didn’t think. I just did.
It took over two hours for the file to import, and I do not have a slacker computer. When it finished importing, I looked at the total number of possible relatives now in the new genealogy project file I created just for this purpose.
This is beyond a “guess whose coming to dinner” freak out! After being in a small family, I suddenly realize that I’m part of a BIGGER family.
This opens up so many doors to travel through. I’m overwhelmed, shocked, dismayed, freaked out, furious, frustrated, eager, anxious, shaking…and the list goes on.
My gratitude to the people who put all this work into a single GEDCOM file is beyond words. What a life effort of research, fact checking, documentation, and tracking. Incredible.
I feel like it will take me more than a lifetime to understand what is now in my computer and how I can process that much information and that many lives.
I think my next destination is Wisconsin. That’s the logical choices as my immediate family left there in the 1930s and 40s, turning the light out on logging in Northern Wisconsin’s once booming lumber town of Taylor Rapids. Another part of my mother’s family is from the Lessor, Shawano, Wisconsin area near Green Bay, and there is a National Archives there to dig through.
Depending upon what we find there, who knows where these 45,875 people will lead me.
Most Recent Articles by Lorelle VanFossen
- The Myths and Mysteries and Hunt for Nicholas Knapp
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