Hi there, it's so nice to meet you!
I am so glad that you dropped by here at The Welsh of Harpers Ferry. This website has been a dream of mine for a long while!
Finally, after many attempts at a larger project which was just too large to handle by myself, I decided it was time to create this site to share my research and other collected items relating to the Welsh Family of Harpers Ferry and related lines, and help researchers researching their own families in the Eastern Panhandle area of West Virginia.
P.S. If you're visiting from my previous project, Panhandle Genealogy, it's super nice to see you again. Welcome back!
Let Me Introduce Myself
My name is Kaila, and I am a self-taught family historian. I have been conducting different types of historical and genealogical research since the meager age of 13 -- that's about 15 years of research!
Outside of my historical interests and research endeavors, I am a wife to a loving husband, a mother to a beautiful, sweet daughter, a crazy hound, Turbo, and a horse that has been by my side since my early teenage years, Twister.
My ancestors immigrated from Offaly [Kings County], Ireland to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia in the early 1830's. Fed up with how they were being treated by the English, they dreamt of prosperity and a new start for their family. Harpers Ferry was extremely similar to the "homeland": the landscape, the rivers, and the limestone deposits. I am now the 7th generation that continues to live in the breathtakingly beautiful Harpers Ferry area, and it all started with them -- Patrick and Honora Welsh and their sons.
I'd love to get to know you -- if you have time, i'd love if you could share your story or genealogy journey with me!
Since we are all about stories at here at The Welsh of Harpers Ferry, I thought you might be interested in hearing my own.
M y family immigrated from Ireland to the Harpers Ferry, West Virginia almost 190 years ago, and many of us -- we're still in the area.
In the quest to find the people and their stories who walked before me, I created the Welsh of Harpers Ferry to share my family's story, connect with other researchers researching near the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, and share what I have learned throughout the years.
I thought if I could help just one person avoid the research mistakes that I made, well, it would make my year.
Oh, those mistakes that I made.
And let me tell you, I made plenty of mistakes.
Mistakes like copying other trees online, not citing my sources, being too shy and scared to enter a court house, and not analyzing conflicting information. What's more? I was a date hunter. I wasn't worried about the stories.
After a couple of years, my family tree was a complete mess. There were tons of people, many of which were duplicates. Connections were all over the place. In one case I think I even had a woman marrying herself. How did that happen?!?!
I realized that although I was adding "people" at record speed, the connections were incorrect and those little boxes in my genealogy program weren't the people they represented.
People have lives: they make decisions, they have emotions, and they have stories to tell. Stories which shape the lives and history of other people, places, and things.
I wasn't researching my genealogy. I was merely pretending to do something I was not, adding little boxes in my genealogy program.
So, I started over. Completely. I deleted my entire genealogy file and all of the unorganized records I had scattered across my hard drive.
I researched how to research genealogy. I began citing my sources. I interviewed every living relative that would talk to me. I organized and digitized or downloaded any record I could get my hands on. I created timelines and goals, wrote a research log, and analyzed my evidence to back up my claims.
And, a funny thing happened.
I started getting things -- understanding why people did what they did. I had an easier time finding sources because I knew where to look.
Genealogy became truly interesting. It became more than knowing the name of the person before me and when they died.
It was knowing that my grandfather, they called him "Skip", still drank a baby bottle under the dinner table at 8 years old.
It was knowing that my great-grandmother baked and sold the best cakes in town, and she did it on a wood stove completely by hand.
It was knowing how in love my great-great grandfather Tommy, an excellent fiddle player,was with his wife, Maggie, and that they still spoke Gaelic at home.
It was knowing that my great-great-great grandfather, Tommy Buchanon, survived an exploding dynamite shed after being pronounced dead. His wife Annie... I can't even imagine how she felt when she realized he was alive.
That's genealogy. That's what family history is truly all about.
Today, I'm still searching for stories, but not just my own family's stories. I want to help other people discover their own family's stories. I want to help YOU discover YOUR stories.
You see, I truly believe each person affected history in some way. The more we learn about other people's stories, the more we learn about our own.
That's what The Welsh of Harpers Ferry is all about. Helping researchers discover their own family stories by sharing our own.
We all have ancestors, and they all have stories just waiting for you to uncover them. If you don't tell them, who will?
We all have a story to tell; What's yours?
Can You Relate?
If you've made it this far down the page, you probably can relate a little bit to my story.
I'd even bet you've had quite the genealogy journey yourself!
We'd love it if you could share your personal genealogy story with us! Just shoot me a message by clicking on the button below to share your personal genealogy story directly with me.
Researching is much more fun when you have genealogy friends behind you!
Send Us Your Story
Tell us a little about yourself. What is your story? What are your biggest research hurdles or pains? Is there anything we can do to specifically help you? We'd love to hear about your triumphs, difficulties, and problems.