Welcome to my Susan Ruth Arness Family History Site!

After many years of researching family history privately, I am now launching a family history business!

I have been involved in family history all my life.  It started when I was twelve years old and did a family history project (I lived in a pioneer’s farmhouse).  It was a life-changing project!   After school let out I would spend countless hours among the dusty shelves in the archives portion of the library.  I don’t think the librarian ever saw a child do that!

After I married and had children I realized I had to uncover the mysteries of my own ancestral lines, not just for my sake but for my children’s sake.  Let me be clear:  these are stories we all need to know.    I want you (and your children if you have them) to feel a connection to your ancestors.  They bore the same names, traits and probably had many of our same interests, fears and aspirations.  They came before us and are an integral part of our identity.  Some of them lived through major historical events such as war or deportation.  Some lost their native languages and culture.

In the 1980’s researching family history wasn’t easy. But now, with the internet, research is so much easier, not just with all the software at our disposal but also the number of original records which are online.   The trick is to know where to go and to stay up to date with the latest findings.

With enough research time I can find accurate data and pull out the fascinating stories that go along with your story!

Here’s some of the most fascinating details from my personal family research journey:  on my mother’s side of the family we used to assume her father’s parents were French from Quebec.  They spoke French.  They were from northern Maine. That’s basically all we knew.  After research I learned that many of the generations were not only Quebecois but also French from Acadia (nowadays Nova Scotia) (and deported in 1775).   Further research showed that many of them on our side had Jewish roots and hid their ethnicity and religion to survive.  So our family belief went from “mom’s side is French from Quebec/ to French from Quebec and Acadia/ to this plus the fact that many of them were actually Jewish!  

 On my father’s side all we had were snippets of memories from his grandmother’s childhood.  Tidbits of stories, for example, about a “boxwood hedge around a plantation home”.  After my father contracted research we discovered they/we were old ruling class Virginians, many of whom were Huguenots from France.  Also Scottish, Welsh and English origins. We found photos online of the former plantation homes and learned that a staircase from one of the homes has been restored and currently displayed at the DuPont museum in New Jersey.   The list of surprises goes on.  One ancestor in particular lived in Salem, Massachusetts during the time of the “witch trials” – this ancestor of mine defended and protected a “witch” and as a result had to flee the state to save his own life.  

Another ancestor was born on the boat from Norway (his parents were emigrating) in “international waters” (at Sault Ste Marie).  How cool is that?

What is your storyline?!  Let me help you find out!

~Susan