Welcome! My name is Dennis Norbert Partridge and I am the sole author of this blog, and am responsible for every error in it. For those things I do right, please give all the glory to God… I do!
About the Author
I am married to an incredibly wonderful woman who has stayed by my side for our almost 30 year marriage. Those who know her call her Kathy, but she grew up as Kathrine Ann Service in Columbus Georgia, the daughter of two New Jersey parents. We have three wonderful children, the oldest named Kristin graduated from SCAD and is now employed with a National camera company in Atlanta. Our middle child, Blake, graduated from Georgia Southern with a programming degree last year and is now helping Dad by creating a website… to be disclosed soon… My youngest, Meagan, a survivor of Sertoli Leydig Ovarian Cancer is currently enrolled at Georgia Southern where she is planning on entering their nursing program.
As I found 2015 ending, and 2016 beginning, I thought to myself that it was time for me to officially start “blogging” about genealogy. After all, I have been a “genealogist” since I was 14 years old, which means I’ve been tracing my family history for over 35 years. I caught the bug as a freshman in high school in Lebanon NH, when in an English class, one of the parents volunteered to speak to the class about researching your family history. Now that I look back, I think that, in part, my strong interest stemmed from not knowing anything about my family history. Since my parents had divorced when I was just a small child, the interaction with my father’s side of the family pretty much stopped even though they lived only a few towns away in Springfield VT. My interaction with my mother’s side was almost non-existent since most resided in Germany.
My mother immigrated to America from the Bavarian region of Germany in 1964. At only 17, married to an American soldier, and already having had one child with him, my sister Michelle, she found herself in Columbus Georgia, a hot sultry locality in a foreign country, with few friends, outside of her husband, and the circle of soldiers and their wives they lived around. Here she would have a second child by him, me. Why they named me Dennis I have not been able to find out (they haven’t been willing to tell me the truth). I think my father or mother was infatuated with the Dennis the Menace character in either the TV show or comic strip. My mother, while she had some training in school, actually learned how to read and speak English by reading the newspaper in Columbus. The other alternative is less pleasant and that is they named me after the Greek God of wine, Denis, which if you knew my parents back then, you would realize the possibilities of that.
So there you have me, Dennis, born in Georgia, to a young German mother and a military father. My parents would relocate soon after my birth to the coast of Maine where my father would serve as a recruiter for the US Army. I would remember none of this, but I have a picture of me in a rocking chair at Christmas time inside the home we lived in there. At the behest of my mother, my father left the army, and settled in West Lebanon New Hampshire. But this wouldn’t last long. The Vietnam war would start, and my father felt the obligation so many American boys and young men have felt for generations, and felt it was his responsibility to go back into the Army. My mother, hard-nosed as she was (lets remember she was still a teenager) must have given him some sort of ultimatum, and while they parted amicably, part they did do. And so, there you have my mother, just a teenager herself, in a foreign country, with two young children, one of them, appropriately named, an absolute menace. A dozen years later would find me sitting in a classroom curious about the Partridge surname and the family I didn’t know.
About the Art of Genealogy
“Without genealogy, the study of history is comparatively lifeless.” – John Fiske
When I began, I merely “collected” dead people. I knew very little about how to properly go about researching my family tree, and simply collected the names of all the Partridge’s I could find in the scant genealogical records of the Lebanon Public Library. At the time, I didn’t really care – since I had no roots that I knew, I was willing to research any branch of the Partridge family, dreaming that maybe one of them would be mine. But summer would come, and another biannual pilgrimage to my father’s house was due. He now lived in Duncanville TX with his second wife and her two children, where he was once again recruiting for the Army. And during that summer in Duncanville, I found a small metal card file box which opened up to me my ancestry. My father, when young himself, had ventured briefly into researching the genealogy of our family, and had compiled these cards, taking the Partridge line back to it’s origin in America. I was hooked! What had started as only a passing fancy, I now had by the tail, and I haven’t let go since!
There is an art to genealogy, though some would argue its more of a science (hence the -ology): It’s more than just collecting the names of dead people, more than facts, more than dates, more than sources and citations… it’s an ability to uncover even the most remote facts about an ancestor, properly interpret them, and formulate an understanding of how they contributed to the life of that ancestor; it’s the ability and craft of when to add the next ancestor into the family tree, and when to say, wait, I still don’t have enough proof to be sure this is the right parent; it’s the art of writing and telling the stories of our ancestors to engage a younger generation to become interested in their own ancestry.
About this Blog – GenHelp
As I looked out into the blogosphere in late 2015, I found there are already a lot of good genealogy blogs where qualified talented people blog about their personal research in hopes that, while documenting their own family narratives, they can help others discover ways and methods of researching their own ancestors. And then there’s the authors who blog about anything to do with genealogy. And still, a few more bloggers who specialize in how to do your family history. So I found the genealogy blogosphere, which has grown large over the past several years, the current blogroll counting more then 3,000 genealogy blogs, though some of those, have writers who are now MIA.
This website will become a series of posts on my methodology and results in using the various online genealogical sources. The way I plan to craft this, I have not found elsewhere online, though I must admit, I have not looked at all 3,000+ other genealogy blogs. So I think I will be doing something completely unique, but if not, I hope, at the least, I make it different from anyone else. This blog will work in tandem with the genealogy workshops I will begin leading at my local Church, Solid Rock, in Midland Georgia. If you’re coming through Columbus, perhaps to visit soldiers training at Ft. Benning, come on out to our Church, we welcome everybody!
First up is a series on researching for Vermont vital records. While the online records are known, little is published about the provenance of those databases, the origin of the images and facts they contain, an analysis of the veracity of the information, or how to use the information you find within them in your future research. I hope to cover all of this during the very first month!