My project of researching our family tree was given an undeserved but appreciated head start by the efforts of two family members, and since I have started, I have called upon several other relatives who all assisted.
My own father Michael Edward Hopkins laid the groundwork for the most unique line in our tree, which was also the only one where records are not in English. While recovering from a kidney transplant (thank you, Aunt Jill) in 2001, Dad made personal contact with distant relatives in Sweden. The Oldenqvists who live there (there were only 5 Oldenqvist families in all of Sweden) are all descended from the same Anders Oldenqvist we are; cousins who were very generous in providing information about the paternal line of our Nana Hop.
My great-uncle John E. Hall spent the first several years of his retirement in the 1990s (and before usable Internet) driving his Toyota Camry hither and yon to town halls and cemeteries in one little New England village after another, as well as to the National Archives and Family History Centers. The result of all this travel, phone calls, diner food, interviews, letters, and microfiche scanning was his “Porter-Taylor Family History”. This was given freely to family members and for several years after he assembled it, he sent periodic update pages to hole-punch and insert. More amazing is the fact that these are not Uncle John’s ancestors at all; they are his wife’s family. This information gave me a huge leg up on our Gramma Cole’s lineage, which is probably most of the lines that go back the longest in New England.
The view back across the generations was made much easier for me by standing on the shoulders of these two men. I thank them for their generosity in sharing their work.
Since I have started working on this project, I am thankful to have had very helpful information shared with me by several relatives. Email and the Internet really have made this an accessible hobby for those of us who can’t quite yet pursue the field work.
My aunt, Cyndy Berglind, has been so helpful on my Nana Hop’s side. She has many family photos and personal memories of the Wilson and Elmes family members who were so much a part of her own upbringing. More on those family pages.
My first cousin once removed, Gary Hopkins, really got me over a stone wall by sharing his knowledge of the hometown of my great-great-grandfather Michael Hopkins. Gary has been to Ireland and visited with the Hopkins family who still live there in County Galway.
An ancestry.com DNA test connected me with a second cousin once removed, Sandra St. Martin, who sent me the births, deaths, and marriages pages from the Bible of Lyman Taylor, my great-great-grandfather.
My sister-in-law Sara Michel Hopkins took her class on a field trip to Plimoth Plantation and brought back “Families of the Pilgrims: John Alden / William Mullins” which confirmed that I was on the right track with my pursuit of Mayflower descent through Gramma Cole’s line. The Alden Kindred genealogy at alden.org was also helpful in confirming this.