I can trace mine, so far, back to my great great great great great great grandparents and to 1678 when my 6th great grandfather was born in Wales and "When a boy was “bound out” by his father to a ship carpenter but he ran away and came to the United States. He had no money to pay for his passage and he was sold and obliged to work to buy his freedom. He came to Newburyport about 1712. (Mass.)"
His wife's will:
“In the name of God amen, the first day of December anno Domini 1764, I, (xxxx) of Methuen in the County of Essex in his Majesty’s Province of Massachusetts Bay in New England, widow- enjoying at present through the goodness of God a good measure of bodily health and strength and free and full exercise of my reason, yet calling to mind the mortality of my body, do make and ordain this my last will and Testament, that is to say principally and first of all I give and recommend my soul into the hand of God that gave it, and my body I recommend to the earth to be buried in decent Christian burial at the discretion of my executor hereafter named nothing doubting but that at the General resurrection, I shall receive the same again by the mighty power of God and as touching such worldly estate wherewith it hath pleased the Lord to bless me in this life I give and dispose of the same in following manner and form.
Imprimis- I will and order that all such debts as I shall owe at the time of my decease together with my funeral charges be honestly and seasonably paid by my executor hereafter named.
Item- I give unto my beloved son, (xxxx), two sows, and six sheep and my flaxcomb and an iron bread pan and a frying pan.
Item- I give unto my beloved son (xxxx), a pair of steelyards, a pewter quart, a pair of hand irons, and an oval table, warming pan and a mortar and a pair of bellows.
Item- I give to my beloved daughter-in-law, (xxxx), one feather bed and under bed, a pair of sheets, a coverlet, a bedstead and bedcord.
Item- I give unto my beloved daughter, (xxxx), all my wearing apparel and all my household goods of every sort and denomination except what part I have herein before disposed of and when I shall herein dispose of and give to my grand-daughter.
Item- I give unto my beloved grand-daughter, (xxxx), a trammel, a brass skillet and a woolen wheel.
Item- I give unto my beloved grand-daughter, (xxxx), a trammel and a linen wheel.
Item- I give unto my beloved grand-daughter, (xxxx), a silver spoon. The overplus or remainder of my debts and money (if any there be) after paying out of the same such debts as I shall owe at the time of my decease and my funeral charges, I give the same to my two sons above named equally and I do constitute and appoint my said son, (xxxx), to be my sole executor of this my last will and testament. In Testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year above mentioned.
Signed, sealed pronounced by (xxxx) as her last will and testament and declared in presence of Ebenezer Barker, Samuel Haseltine, Nathaniel Haseltine.
One of them was a Revolutionary War Captain in 1781, from Mass. His relatives can be members of the DAR, which my grandmother was. Another brought the first silk hosiery machine to the US. Another was a farmer and was Justice of Peace and Sheriff at one time.
Another was "was one of six who combined to build the Chapel at Piper’s Mills."
Another ancester, (Dr. xxxx) had the saddle bags in which the votes of the State of NH for President and Vice-President were carried to Washington in 1812. They were carried by (xxxx), the Dr.’s grandfather. They are now at the Historical Society Museum in Concord, NH. , a gift of (xxxx). Another, "Served as Representative of NH State Legislature 1884-1885."
That's just a few of the interesting pieces of information my grandmother collected and saved over the years, and I have backed up by finding them at ancestry.com
Some great links include:
Ancestry.com (free for 3 days then you have to pay)
Roots-web (free site)
Before you start - good site
There is lots of free information out there, it's really neat seeing the 1930's and earlier Census', which list all the household members and their ages and occupations. Check out ancestry.com for their free 3 day trial when you have lots of spare time so you can take advantage of their free offer. They have tons of information!
I have just started not long ago, so if you have any tips or good places to look, please share them! :)