My grandfather Vaughn INGERSON died when I was about 11. I only had a chance to meet him once, and that was pretty much when he told our family he was dying. My grandmother and my grandfather went their separate ways when my mother was a child, so she wasn't one to chat a lot about him and I didn't really ask. Heck, at 11, I didn't even wonder about my grandfather. I didn't really know any better.
But as I got older and became more interested in my family history, I started asking more questions and realized the topic of my grandfather was a bit of a sore subject in the family. In 2006 I order a copy of Vaughn's Death Certificate from the State of Massachusetts. This was the first official record I ordered as part of my family history research. The information on it was very helpful at identifying exactly where he died. I'm not sure how, or where I found it, but eventually I came across an obituary for Vaughn that listed his surviving siblings... I looked online to see if there were people still living in the area with that name, and 'lo and behold I found one. So, I sat down and wrote a letter to his sister, not knowing if was even still at the address or if she would care to speak with me.
A few weeks later (when I had honestly already forgotten about sending the letter, I received a reply via email. It said "Hello Brian. My name is M. L. You sent a letter to my sister that she gave to me about Vaughn Ingerson. I am his sister...." and it went on to explain a little bit about the immediate family.
By this time I was away at college (if you can call an hour drive from home "away) and very excited to make a connection. Not only that, but M. L. seemed interested in knowing about her family history as well. It was M. L. who first introduced me to François and Fredique ROPP.
Before this I knew my Grandfather's last name was INGERSON, but I knew nothing else about his family. Now I knew Vaughn's mother's name was Helen ROPP. Helen's parents were Ernest and Mattie (Kelley) ROPP. I learned Helen was born in Baltimore, but Ernest and his family were "originally" from the Worcester, MA area. With this information I set about looking through census records and trying to find my ROPP ancestors.
This was the beginning of my journey, and the first of my connection to living ROPP relatives. One side trip... As I begin to recount my own journey learning about my ROPP ancestry, I expect to post fairly often to this blog. As I get caught up to the present day, I will only be updating the blog when information becomes available. Hopefully that means I will get to update fairly regularly, but for now let me retrace my steps through memories and documents.