While we've been home, I've been reading trashy fiction and poking at ancestry.com. We got a bunch of R.'s family in. I've got lineage on all four of my grandparents and many of my grandparents going back at least to the early 1800s and I've still got a few lines going back in the early 18th century, at which point I don't really feel all that strong a connection and it's hard to continue. Looks like there will be hobby material here for, essentially, ever.
With R.'s family, we're not doing quite as well; we're waiting for some of the stuff put together by his great-aunt L., which R.'s mother has. R. thought his uncle put it together; I was excited to hear it was older than that. It looks like a bunch of his ancestry is Dutch and German in the Passaic Valley, and we can probably go a little ways back on that; the Irish stuff is trickier. Maybe in the next decade, Ireland will do something like what the Dutch have done with genlias.
It is odd, however, to go from not even knowing my maternal grandmother's parents names to having exchanged messages over on ancestry.com with some of the relatives on that branch. It's even odder to realize that the easiest genealogical research to do online these days is the stuff that was toughest to do before: too old for anyone alive to remember anything about, but not old enough (or important enough) to be in a printed book. Ah, the wonder that is the US Census. If only I could figure out how to navigate more of the national archives online.