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Notes from the Webmaster
For those that don't know, I'm Chris Rodriguez, son of Bob & Diana Rodriguez. I've been doing this family tree stuff off and on for about 6 or 7 years. Most of what I have is word of mouth from relatives, but I've been lucky a couple of times and got factual information from real records, like birth and death certificates, and census reports. But I sure could use some help. I'm willing to bet that some of you have some heirlooms or documents that could really help. If you do, I'd sure appreciate it if you'd share some of that information with me. Copies of this information is all I'm looking for, I'm not looking to take anything away from anyone. I'm more interested in preserving anything related to the family. And the more information I get, the more everyone gets as I'm not just doing this for me and I'll share anything I find with anyone who wants to see it. Mostly that will be done here on this website.
What would help? Records of births, baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and deaths. That last one is sure to be a touchy subject in some cases, and I understand and respect that. I'm sure not trying to bring up bad memories, but it's bound to happen. If you have any stories or leads to information that I don't already have, it could help point me in the right direction. If you have any pictures that could be digitized, so that I could put a face with a name on this site, that would help. If you have access to sources of information, like libraries or churches, that are not in my area (Colorado) and would like to help dig up something (an obituary, etc), that would help. Remember, nothing will be taken from you, just a chance to share with everyone.
What have I done so far? Mostly, a lot of long distance phone calls. In most cases to relatives, in one case to Veracruz, Mexico, where neither of us spoke the others language. I've been to the local Family History Library (Church of Latter Day Saints) a few times to order microfilm. I've been to the Denver Public Library a few times digging through their records. I've purchased a few versions of genealogy software over the years and had a paid subscription to Ancestry.Com for their services. Went to Ellis Island to verify a relative on its wall of names. See that logo at the top of the screen? I designed it with flags from some of the countries in the family tree. And of course I bought this domain name and maintain this website.
What's planned? In the short term I'm hoping some recent microfilm requests will get me somewhere. I'll be updating the family tree software. I'm need to learn to speak and read Spanish as many records are in that language. I plan on traveling to Mexico in the next 2 years to further look into some of the areas my family came from. I plan to travel to Italy within the next 6 years to investigate that part of the tree. And of course, lots more long distance phone calls.
The future of the family. That's really the point to all this, a living record of our past. I don't know about you, but I think it's pretty interesting to see where we came from. It's a challenge to see how far back this digging will get me. I know some branches may become dead ends, I've already been warned about that. But I'd like to try anyway. It would be nice to have a central location to display all the family heirlooms and important documents and pictures. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening for a variety of reasons. So in lieu of that, how about a virtual family museum? A place where anyone, anywhere, anytime, can go look at their families past with pictures and documents, and are able to add to it or help research. The internet gives us that ability and this site can be that museum.
If you can't or don't want to help, all I ask is that you preserve and protect any items (pictures, documents, antiques, heirlooms, etc) you may have in your possession and let them live on beyond your lifetime, preferably within the family. Air, time, and moisture are enemies to these things. If 2 out of those 3 are taken care of, the third (time) won't matter as much. I suggest vacuum sealing (don't laminate!), and if at all possible get digital copies of whatever you can. Remember, just because you might want to bury the past or don't care to investigate your roots, that doesn't mean the generation behind you feels the same way.
Lastly, a great big thanks to those of you (you know who you are) that have helped so far. Some, unfortunately, have passed away since they started working with me, and so many people with so much knowledge and so many stories are gone. I suspect soon I'll be getting some help from others I haven't heard from yet on this subject. That will help keep the memories of those that have already passed on, and others to follow, alive forever.