I've been working hard to put together a binder of the history of my mother's family in time to give it to her as a birthday gift later this month. Going through all the records and stories and photographs I've managed to accumulate over the past couple of years, I'm amazed at the easy access we now have to so much history. Putting this information together gives you a real sense of the lives your ancestors lived, along with the history of the country itself. I've connected to distant relatives who have shared information, traced the migration of the families from England and Ireland to the U.S., and then from their initial homes in the Carolinas, west to Tennessee, Kentucky and Arkansas. I've found military records and stories showing my Irish immigrant ancestors fought passionately for the American side in the Revolutionary War, and some of my southern ancestors were on the Union side in the Civil War. I've also found slave owners and a couple of shady characters on the wrong side of the law. I'm still trying to make it through a few brick walls, but I'm thankful for what I have been able to put together so far, and hope that we can continue to use this information in the future to continue piecing together the story of our family. Now on to the next branch!