So after I've scanned all my dad's photos and miscellaneous documents, I decided I'd work on our family tree. I bought a program called "Family Tree Maker 2010"; waste of money, really, but it came with 3 months of US Deluxe Access to Ancestry.com, which is about $75 dollars in itself, so basically the program was free.
Searching my name, Chester J. Beltowski, will yield a total of 890 results. It gives results if your name is mentioned in someone else's tree (which is a good thing), anyone who may be related (which is good and bad) and anytime your public record has changed (which is terrible and I will explain why).
So, of those 890 results, I expect to see my name and my grandfather's name since I was named after him. What I didn't expect to see was my record, 8 different times. Every time I moved the government creates a new record for you. So I have a record for living with my parents, I have one for when we moved to Bay City, MI, I have one for about 5 different residences in Mt. Pleasant, MI. Really? You're telling me no one was smart enough to link [b][i]my[/i][/b] unique Social Security Number to all these places I've lived and just put them in a chronological list?
It's not just residences, but it's birth records, death records; basically any type of event that happens that the government knows about, you're gonna get multiple hits. My mom's death record has about 9 different entries in it, and I'm not exactly sure why, it's not like she was a cat. There are a few for Prescott, AZ (where she passed away), and some for Chicago, IL (where she was born), and of course some for Oak Harbor, OH (where she lived).
Anyways, time for the good stuff!
I don't really know much about my dad's side of the family. I know my immediate aunt's and uncle, their spouses, my cousins... like I said "immediate," it doesn't go much more beyond that and my grandfather. My mom's side of the family, I don't even really know where to begin with it. They never visited us, we never visited them, it sucks but that's the way it is.
So I am forced to piece together what I can by sifting through all these records until you find something pretty amazing. Now, my dad has some pretty neat records, he has his dad's (Chester) birth certificate and Baptismal record (score!). He also had a Baptismal record for his mom (Rose, even bigger score!). With that record, I was able to find a ship manifest coming in from South Hampton to New York.
It's things like this that make me want to keep digging.