Filling in the Blanks: How I Started My Genealogy Research – Part 2

Trisha’s Note: My husband, Phillip, will be posting a 2-part blog post about how he started filling in his family tree as a genealogy newbie. This is part 2. Here’s Part 1. Happy reading!

This is part 2 of my story, where I share with you the process of beginning my research, what I found, and what’s next. So the first thing I did was contact my brother, who had done some casual research on the family, and he shared his findings with me. There was also a point where Trisha was helping fill in the tree, and she shared her info with me as well. Taking all of that info, I was able to build my first tree.

While looking at my family tree, you can easily see there’s a chunk of info missing from my Dad’s side of the family, so that’s where I decided to start. We knew the name of my paternal grandfather and where he might live, but since he left when my dad was little, that was about all we knew.

Screen Shot 2019-06-23 at 5.52.31 PM

The place I started my research was on FamilySearch.org with a simple search of my grandfather’s name. To my delight, someone had already done a lot of research and saved the info on the website. In one night of research, I had found info about my grandfather, great-grandfather, and great-grandmother. I was elated. It was pretty late at night when I saw it, so I didn’t wake Trisha, but I came close to doing it.

The person that had already done the research included source documents, so I found out some interesting facts about my great-grandfather.

  • His name is Dr. Ralph Percy Cummings and was born in Demerara, British Guiana, South America in 1882.
  • He immigrated to the U.S. in 1907.
  • Through a simple Google search, I found a newspaper article about him that documented how he made his way to Nashville, TN, and attended Meharry College in 1914.
  • He then traveled West to Arkansas in 1919 where he opened a practice and lived out the rest of his days as a well-respected physician in Conway, AR. His practice was known for helping those in need.
Dr. Ralph Percy Cummings
Dr. Ralph Percy Cummings

Once I hit a stopping point, my interest immediately went to where my great-grandfather was born. I didn’t know where British Guiana was so I searched Google Maps and found that it’s now known as Guyana. Already thinking about going there, I zoomed in to get a closer look at what the area is like and noticed there’s a section of town called Cummingsburg. WOW! I was blown away to see that there may very well be a section of town with my family’s name.

The best part of all was I got a chance to go see my dad and share all of the information I found about his biological father and grandfather. He was glad to see it, and I was happy to have been able to share it.

While I was doing this research, I took a DNA test with Ancestry. I received the results, and it listed my potential DNA matches. One of them was listed as a close match. It didn’t have a name on the profile, so I sent him a message. He replied back, and we set up a time to talk on the phone. It turns out, this guy is my dad’s half brother.

I mean, what a journey this has turned out to be. I’ve learned so much about my family, and although I still have a ways to go, I’m excited about what I know so far. My next steps are:

  • Continue researching my Dad’s side of the family.
  • Work on finding more info about my Great-grandfather, Guyana, and Cummingsburg.
  • Start researching my Mother’s side of the family. There are some questions she has, as well.

Thank you so much for reading about the beginning of my journey. While you’re here, check out the most recent episode of our Podcast. You can find us wherever you listen to Podcasts. We also have a YouTube channel and Twitter. Go subscribe and follow us. We appreciate you.

Phillip’s Note: Thanks to Trisha for allowing me to be a guest on her blog. She has been more than impressed by the comments and views so far.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Val says:

    How nice to be able to share info with your dad about his own father. I wish I’d had the resources I have now when I was first doing my tree (which I’ve already passed on to my family) and been able to give my own dad more info about his ancestors. He started the tree and passed it on to me, but he only got so far without online help – no computer then.

    Like

    1. Trisha says:

      That was a very special moment for my husband and his dad. I was just happy to be a part of if.

      Liked by 1 person

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