Ripon genealogist Mike Johnson urges people to search their family histories and even discover their DNA roots.
Johnson says the best way to start a search is to put a pedigree chart together starting with what you know about your family members and then go online to either Familysearch.org or Angestry.com. Family Search is free and Ancestry requires a fee to use its services, he said.
Another source is the Manteca Family History Center operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 6060 Northland Road just off Highway 99 to the northeast of the city. Its hours of operation are Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. and Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday evenings from 6 until 9 p.m. For more information call the center at 239-5516.
Johnson spoke Wednesday before the Ripon Rotary during their Wednesday meeting at the Spring Creek Country Club.
“Finding people in your search is easier than finding people alive,” he told Rotarians. He noted that Ancestry.com is more private and the Family Search is open to others searching on line and can possibly copy another’s information.
Johnson said his initial search found some interesting connections with the past including the Mayflower that sailed from Europe to the new country. His other relations included Thomas Jefferson, Winston Churchill, Charlemagne, Laura Ingalls Wilder, James Stewart I, Millard Fillmore, Lyndon Johnson, and Buster Keaton. His search engine to find those connections was Relativefinder.org.
He said that in beginning a family history a person should first determine what interests them, adding there is no right or wrong way to embark on a history search.
“Begin with yourself and work backward in time, generation by generation. Start with an ancestor and work forward naming their descendants and then document the life of a single ancestor,” he suggested. “Relativefinder.org works with Familyworks.org.”
“There’s a whole lot of who we are that goes back to what we can find in our ancestors’ information,” he said. “Who are we and where did we come from. How did they make their living, what were their skills and finding whether or not we have skeletons in our closet.”
Johnson retired from J.R. Simplot in Lathrop in 2001 after 30 years in agri-business retail back. His wife Kim taught 8th grade at Ripona School in Ripon for many years.
Through Ancestry.com researching members of the public can have their DNA fully analyzed for a fee and determine the makeup of their being and learn exactly where they originated and what percentage they represent from different parts of the world whether it be Europe, Asia or South America.
To contact Glenn Kahl, email firstname.lastname@example.org.