More like, all about Jon Edens…

I began researching my family a couple of decades ago, in the 90s, or maybe earlier. It is been difficult to determine how long as I get lost in history and have a difficult time realizing what century I am in at any given time.

What I do remember is the excitement of finding my great grandmother in the 1910 U. S. Federal Census, and it has been non stop since.

Over the years I have taken on such family legends as being related to an Indian princess and being related to all the major royalty of Europe, both of which were disproven with diligent research, although my family still doesn’t believe me. What I have found in my family include a famous lawman killed by another lawman for being drunk, a relative who fell over 100 feet from a building, through another building, and not suffer a single injury, a relative who was killed at Gettysburg only to walk away, and a relative who single handedly started a war with Mexico.

All that aside, I have helped dozens of other poor folks discover their families and the stories behind them, as well as locate living relatives they did not know existed. I believe that although our ancestors may be dead, their stories are still living, somewhere, out there, maybe even over there.

In 2011 I discovered, and joined, Unclaimed Persons, a group of volunteer genealogists who assist medical examiners, coroners and investigators to locate the next of kin of deceased individuals whose relatives have proven difficult to identify and trace. This introduced me to forensic genealogy and I began my studies and research with forensics in mind.

Over the years some of the work I have performed includes:

  • Research a family line and their stories for a family reunion. I presented it as a “Who Do You Think You Are” format allowing the family to visit the places their ancestors lived.
  • Locate the names and burial places of great grandparents who ended up being buried less than two miles from the client.
  • Worked on many cases with Unclaimed Persons.
  • Locate ancestors allowing a family to join multiple heritage organizations.
  • Disprove family migration histories (my name is German, I must be of German decent. Nope, your great grandfather changed his name because he was in prison.)
  • Locate living relatives of a land purchase from 1872
  • Discovered a decedent had no living relatives, but was a Cuban revolutionary hero, thus allowing the Cuban community to help claim her.
  • And many others

If you have not figured it out, I like to take a tongue-in-cheek approach to family history. The lives of our ancestors were not simply the black and white on pages of documents, but full of living, breathing, laughing, and crying events. I believe this is the true history that should be relayed.

If your ancestors had a closet, I will find the skeletons in it; and hopefully it is not of another relative. but if it is, great! What a fantastic story to relay at your next Thanksgiving gathering.