Family Tree

When my paternal grandfather passed away a couple months ago, a few things really stuck out at his viewing. There were a TON of people there who fondly remembered him, someone had bought a bunch of Rheb’s candy boxes and put them around the room (not only a Baltimore tradition, but a family tradition for as long as I can remember), and our family tree.

My PopPop was passionate about our ancestry and for years (actually, probably decades) I’ve heard about our family tree… but I’d never actually seen it. So, when I saw a framed version sitting at a table in the corner I was intrigued.

Family tree 1 - for blog

I’ve never seen anything like it before – a hand drawn map-like tree which traced every single step of our family. The original is actually a huge 12 foot x 12 foot version that was unrolled each year at a family reunion so everyone could write in their updates. At some point someone took a picture of it so that it could be framed.

The trunk of the tree starts with Johann Hermann, a village baker and schoolmaster born in Germany in 1699, branches off for his four sons who came to America in 1752, branches off more and more and more and more… all the way to me!

Family tree 3 - close up

How cool is that?!

My uncle had a digital version of the tree, so I was able to go in and add some updates so that all the younger members of our family were there, including Jack. For Christmas, I printed four copies and framed them for myself and each of my siblings.

Family Tree 2

Not only will my family tree remind me of where I came from – literally – but every time I look at it I think of my grandfather and how much he loved sharing his knowledge of our past to each of us.

Have you been bitten by the ancestry bug? Do you have a family tree?

Like what you see? Share me with your friends!

4 thoughts on “Family Tree”

  1. That is so cool! My mom is into genealogy but I’ve never seen anything compiled like this before. I should probably look into getting some sort of a chart, but I think she’s been flitting back and forth between her family and my dad’s family. Long story short, we’re mostly German on both sides, save for my Dutch grandmother and a random Irish gal who married in at some point. All showed up in the states in the 1850s or so. It’s cool that you can even see where they started to change the spelling of their last name and everything. Fascinating stuff!

  2. I teared up reading this and I didn’t know your grandfather, so I can imagine how you must feel. I think it’s great that you have all of this information and can pass it down to Jack, and he can pass it to his kids, and so on. I think knowing where you came from is really neat.

    I know some things about my family but not a ton. One of my favorite stories is about my Pop Pop’s (mom’s dad) parents that I learned when I interviewed him for an elementary school project: His mother was the equivalent of German royalty in Germany. She fell in love with a commoner and they loved each other so much that they moved to America to be married. That commoner was my Pop Pop’s father.

  3. So cool! I LOVE this. It’s an amazing record.

    I really enjoy genealogy, and have tried to be the person who keeps track of my family history, especially with my maternal family history.

    A few years ago I set up Family Trees in and was able to trace a little ways back in my mom’s family.

    I also set up a family tree for my husband’s family. They go back really really far in the US (vs my family that came here in the late 1800 and early 1900).

    Some of the family history on his mother’s side was “lost” when a family bible was stolen from the family farmstead (along with civil war era blacksmith equipment and family heirloom quilts and cedar chests), but allowed me to trace some of it back further than I think even his mom was aware. For example: His mom’s maiden name was Luker, and I was able to trace that family back to Thomas Luker. It’s generally accepted that Thomas is for whom Tom’s River, NJ is named for:

    1. Keith and I have actually talked about getting those Ancestry DNA kits to learn more about our familial lineage.

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