Your Stories: Finding Connections to Family

Posted October 13, 2016 by Amanda | No Comment

Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Barbara Zinn first became interested in family history in 1998 when her husband’s aunt sent the couple his family history. Since then, Barbara had been doing her husband’s genealogy off and on.  After researching her husband’s family for a number of years, Barbara became interested in seeing what she could find about her own family.

Your Stories: Finding Connections to Family | Geni

Mary Louise Spencer (Barbara’s paternal grandmother) / Courtesy of Barbara Zinn

“Because of my upbringing, and very little connection to family, I was [under] the impression that I came from a very small family. My parents/grandparents are dead, so no one to ask.”

Her genealogy research has led her to some interesting discoveries.

“My husband’s ‘big’ family comes out of Virginia since 1635. He is also a born and bred Florida Cracker, so he is part of the Sons of Confederates (SCV) with proof of his heritage. I’m an associated member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) because my family started in Connecticut in 1632, and I was born in Minnesota. Never dreamed I had family members who were Confederates – but I do, and A LOT! [I] even found out that members of both our families have married into each other’s families from their time in England before the 1600’s, and even in America till the 1800’s.”

Barbara joined Geni in 2015 and works on her tree almost everyday. She had tried other sites before, but found she liked Geni the best.

“I value the opportunity it gives to see if you’re connected/related to someone and the pathway to show you how, plus the ability to read about that person, and links to the people mentioned for that person.”

She’s also had some fun with the genealogy projects on Geni.

“I’m able to go on a project profile and see if I’m connected to anyone. I was able to find relatives that were Mormon, Christian, Jewish, Amish, Founding Fathers, WWII resistance fighters, entertainers, pirates, gunslingers, and more.”

Finding her connection to the Geni’s World Family Tree has been a wonderful surprise.

Your Stories: Finding Connections to Family

Barbara discovered General Douglas MacArthur is her 10th cousin 4 times removed / Wikimedia Commons

“Because I knew very little about my family, everyone is a surprise to me. I have just started sending a note to the ones in charge of a page to let them know how we are connected. I have not meet anyone yet, but knowing I have family out there ‘warms my heart’ to no end.”

Now that Barbara has found so many new relatives, she’s putting the information together for younger generations of her family.

Your Stories: Finding Connections to Family | Geni

Egil Eugene Twedt (Barbara’s paternal grandfather) came to the U.S. at age 14 / Courtesy of Barbara Zinn

“I want to thank for the ability to see if we’re connected to someone. I’ve been able to find myself connected to a large family. I’m printing them out to give to my grandchildren so they know that their family is out there. I’ve been able to find my family history in Europe, and in the formation of America.”

Barbara’s best tips for genealogists:

“My tip for people starting out is to start at the basics of your family and see where that takes you. Or, pick a topic, example: U.S. Presidents, and go form there. Print out a copy of what you find.

Sit back, it’s going to be a wild ride.”

Thank you to Barbara for sharing her experience with us! Do you have a story to share? Email us at

Post written by Amanda

Amanda is the Social Media Coordinator at Geni. If you need any assistance, she will be happy to help!

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