|Me and my wife, Karen, during a visit to the|
Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah
I remember being interested in family history back when Roots came on television when I was about 10 years old. I finally got more interested and tried working on it back around 2003 when my mother gave me a family history book about the descendants of her grandfather and his brother but contained no information about their ancestors. I tried my hardest, using what little knowledge I had to do more research. In 2008, I was looking for the ancestors of my great-grandfather, Aloys/Alois/Aloysius Panther and his brother Ferdinand, in microfilms of church baptismal, marriage and death books in villages south of Baden-Baden, where they were said to have come from. I had actually found some Panther relations in Stadelhofen, Ortenaukreis, Baden, Germany, but I didn't know they were related because I hadn't found Aloys' baptismal record there. Finally, in April of 2009, the daughter of my first cousin made a major breakthrough, finding Aloys and Ferdinand's baptismal records in Moesbach, Ortenaukreis, Baden, Germany. My interest came back stronger than ever. Once you add in the power of the Internet along with my computer skills and new determination, I've been making huge progress in my research over the past 7+ years.
The people at the local family history center got to know me and respect my research abilities and asked me to give a presentation on German research at a monthly staff meeting in 2012. I also published a book about the genealogy of my great-grandfather in Baden, Germany. In 2014, the local LDS church knew me from the family history center and asked me to put on a workshop for their members for several weeks last spring.
I don't intend to make a career out of genealogy but I suppose you never know. Maybe it will make a part-time career after I retire in 10-20 years.