About Me

William S. and Elizabeth Swegle headstone, Bradford, Ilinois

William S. and Elizabeth Swegle headstone, Bradford, Ilinois

 Yes, it’s true!

    I would rather read census records than watch TV . . .

         . . . and I spend my free time wandering around cemeteries.

I became enthralled with family history research when I was 17 years old – not quite sure why – but I took a couple “how to” classes and learned the basics of research.  I still remember my first visit to the world-famous Family History Library in Salt Lake City in 1974.  In addition to being overwhelmed that I could find information and stories about my very own ancestors right there, I met others that day who were actually working on some of my very same ancestors.

Now that was in the days of handwriting letters and actually putting stamps on them and mailing them and waiting for responses.  Yes, we had telephones, but long distance calls were very expensive and not utilized regularly.  Collaboration was fairly tedious.

Over Christmas holidays at college, I hopped in my little Chevy Chevette and drove around with my tape recorder and interviewed all the older relatives I could.  There were many tender moments, and sometimes tears, of joy as well as sadness, as memories were recalled.  They were all so appreciative that someone cared about their stories, they loaded me up with photos and artwork and ephemera from their personal lives and from their ancestors.

Jill with Dad looking at history photosI have privately hoarded these things for years, mainly because I didn’t know how to publicly share them.  I’ve been quite a “gatherer” of family information.  Technology continues to develop and make collaboration and sharing much more realistic, so here I go with an attempt to pass along my gatherings.

As I review some of the research information that I am uploading to this website, I am very grateful that I had the genealogy bug in those days, because everyone I contacted, interviewed, and corresponded with has now passed on.  I’m left with wonderful memories of sharing and collaborating in person and by correspondence to learn of their families and our earlier generations.

Doing research at Fulton County, IL library where Swegles and Williams families lived.

Doing research at Fulton County, IL library where Swegles and Williams families lived.

In more recent years, as I’ve become an empty-nester, I’ve had the delight of personally visiting many locations of my heritage throughout the United States and western Europe and meeting distant cousins, searching through cemeteries, spending many hours in local genealogical societies and county courthouses, browsing through 600-year-old church record books, and walking along the farmland or 500-year-old manor home of my ancestors.

This site will continue to be a work in progress, because organizing and uploading 40 years of research in any kind of useable manner is pretty much overwhelming, but I’ve committed myself to make the attempt. Just fitting it in between adventures with our 8 children and 25 grandchildren (with spouses, we’re now up to 40 descendants and counting).

I welcome your collaboration and sharing.

Warmest regards,

Jill Johnson

Park City, Utah, USA

 

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2 Responses

  1. Tom Kelly says:

    Jill, I came across your web page by accident while looking up some information on Colorado River. I enjoyed watching the videos narrated by your dad on the river. I, for one, am not thrilled with the changes from the damn dams. Brought back lots of memories of your family growing up in GJ and exploring the canyon country. – Tom Kelly, Salem, OR

    • Jill says:

      Hey Tom,
      I just found your notes in a “spam check” folder, so sorry I didn’t reply sooner. So good to hear from you! Glad you enjoyed the photos — we have lots of great memories with you and your fam!
      Jill

Your comments are welcome