Going out on a limb...


Ever since our very first "date" (which I'll share more about later), Mr. Yorkie and I realized that in addition to running, we both share a passion for family history. I'm not exactly sure how we got on the topic that night, but before I knew it, we were heavy in discussion about surnames, census rolls, and subscriptions to Ancestry.com.

Our love of family is definitely something that has brought us closer together. One of our craziest adventures yet involved sneaking into a long-abandoned cemetery in the backwoods of Allen County, Ohio in order to track down the final resting place of one of Mr. Y's great-great-great grandfathers. I have to admit, it was kind of scary but definitely worth it. These tangible experiences are some of the most rewarding parts of family research. There really is nothing like the feeling of making that connection and being in the very places where your ancestors once walked, worked and lived.

Mr. Y phoned home with the news of his latest find

Because of the importance family history has for both of us, we have chosen to use it as the theme for our wedding. The way we see it, our union is in essence the merging of two deeply-rooted families. It's our desire to celebrate by honoring the marriages and generations that have preceded ours through various details on our special day.

I started actively "climbing" my family tree about eight years ago. My curiosity, though, dates back to childhood and the stories that I'd beg for my grandparents to tell and retell. I remember how amazed I was to learn that Grandpa Yorkie, born on a farm in Iowa, was the youngest of 13 children. (With only one younger sister, I thought I had it hard!) When I was about twelve, I put together a list of all of his brothers' and sisters' names. Even though most of them had already passed by that time, I had grown to love them through the stories that I'd heard.

A handsome young Grandpa Yorkie sits front and center

That list, scrawled on a sheet of loose leaf paper, served as my starting point. With help from my parents and online resources, I steadily began to accumulate pages upon pages of names, dates and notes covering both sides of my family. I learned to find clues in census rolls, old newspapers and obituaries. Before long, I found myself investing in Family Tree Maker in an attempt to keep all of the details organized. Over the years, my simple little list has grown to currently include more than 1,500 individuals spanning 16 generations. Crazy, huh?

Today, only one great aunt remains from that large family of thirteen children. At 92, it's just not possible for her to make the trip from Iowa to Miami for our wedding day. She has already let us know, though, that she will be thinking of us. Mr. Y and I plan to make it up to visit her sometime later this year to share photos and stories of our special day... and to hopefully gather a couple of good stories from Great Aunt Y.

With Great Aunt Yorkie in December 2007

For Mr. Yorkie and I, the search is all about putting faces and stories to the names and dates that we've dug up over these years. We hope to find out who we've come from, so that when we have children of our own, we are able to present them with their legacy so that they may appreciate those who have come before them.

Will you be incorporating details to honor your family and traditions on your wedding day?

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