The Thrill of the Hunt

Since I’d previously known very little about my family tree, except for the occasional story or two, I had to do quite a bit of researching and asking around just to get names. However, once I started investigating, my family seemed to remember much more than I’d thought they would.

My mom’s side of the family is probably the most extensive and confusing to me because of the fact that the men seem to love repopulating and that she has an adoptive father. Since she hasn’t kept in touch with her biological father, pretty much nothing is known about that side. Once I get somewhat experienced in this sometimes extensive researching process, I may take on the challenge of finding out about that missing side of the family tree.

My dad’s side, however, is probably the most interesting, only because it contains deep history that I feel closer to. Even though I never met her, I know that I was named after my great grandmother, Lena Geddings. I’ve heard that she was a unique woman, and my parents have a few things that she brought back from Greece with her. A few census records and the exact place of her burial (Arlington National Cemetery) is known, so I’d really love to find out more about her life and her trip to Greece.


(My great grandmother is the oldest of the children in the photograph on the left. Courtesy of Marlin Geddings.)

On Christmas day, I cornered my great grandmother and questioned her about anything she could remember about her family. She didn’t remember very many details, but she gave me just enough to find what I needed on From then on, she began to recognize names and we eventually came across my fourth great grandfather, who fought in the battle of Antietam and survived (with the unfortunate loss of a limb).


(Courtesy of

Another big mystery is the complete list of my great grandfather’s siblings. Apparently there were about 18 of them, but one tragically died by accidentally falling into the fireplace around the age of 3. I’m currently trying my best to find anything on her that would explain the story a bit better.

This has been an amazing journey so far, and I can tell you now that it will be an addiction of mine for a while. It may get tedious and potentially boring at times, but there are things that will pop up and give you just that boost of energy you needed to discovery something wonderful. The overwhelming sense of mystery that is ever-present is thrilling and I hope to be able to riddle them out soon.