It Starts with ME

Welcome to my blog. I have been wanting to create a family blog for quite a number of years but felt I just didn't have the time for it.  That is really true I still don't have time but I finally learned that I had to make time for it, so this year was it and I started. I love the chase and discovery of my ancestors. It can be frustrating but fun to run up against a brickwall, and try to get past it. To analyze a problem and hopefully solve it. It is my hope also that this blog will help me be a better researcher. To be a little more patient and a lot more observant. It is like detective work, one clue at a time till the problem is solved. I hope that you will enjoy what I have to offer and continue to come back, I love learning and growing so this is a perfert venue for me. 

Some introductions are in order: My name is Sandra GARDNER ABERLE-BENWARD.
GARDNER is my maiden name. ABERLE is my first husband and my childrens surnames. BENWARD is is my legal name now and surname of my wonderful husband.

I am originally from Ohio but have lived the better part of my life in California. In between birth and now I have lived in many different places - you see I was first an Army brat and then an Air Force wife and now I am just ME- a very happy soul. I am married to a wonderful man who supports me with whatever I want to do. I have helped and encouraged him in his family research and now he too is going forward full steam. Now when either of us does a happy dance the other knows exactly what it is all about and celebrates with the other.

Like most people I did not really get interested in Genealogy and Family Researh while I was working, and raising a family. Then I found my dad was actually doing the family research and that was exciting to me. In 1999 my husband transferred back to Pennsylvania for just under 5 years, and I retired. I guess I asked too many questions while looking at the papers and the family tree my dad had created. One day in 1999 (just prior to leaving for Pennsylvania) I found my dad handing me a large envelope, YES it contained all his research and said you are the keeper now. I found that my dad was really only a collector of names, dates and places but no documentation no sourcing. But there were ancestors listed that I didn't know and his research was a place to start. Little did he or I know how involved/addicted, how all consuming this 'hobby' would become for me - this wonderland of Family Research.

So while in Pennsylvania we visited many many libraries, archives, museums and cemeteries PLUS a bonus of meeting relatives for the time. It was a very productive 5 years.

Since 2003 I have been a very active member of my local genealogy society, Root Cellar Sacramento Genealogical Society. Over those years, I have held the position of Secretary, Vice President and President,& Past President. I am part of the TECHIE Committee which handles the website, blog, Facebook and more.  The blog seems to be my baby right now. And I am also part of Root Cellar SGS Extraction Committee headed up by my dear friend Marilyn Ulbricht. We meet down at the Center for Sacramento History every Friday morning. A lot of work, but a lot of fun, very interesting, and so satisfying too. Check out our publications so far..........

I am a member of the Genealogical and Historical Council of Sacramento Valley (Council) and have chaired and co-chaired their annual Family History Day several times. It is partnered with the California State Archives. I am also a member of Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS- delegate), National Genealogical Society (NGS), Southern California Genealogical Society,  New England Historic Genealogical Society,  Ohio Genealogical SocietyWestern Pennsylvania Genealogical Society & Connecticut Society of Genealogists and other local groups.

This is such a fun journey going into the past and hopefully back into current day- finding those elusive living relatives. Come join the rest of us and find your roots, your family, your ancestors and their homes. Everyone is welcome, in fact the more the merrier - who knows who is related to who! It is really a small world.


  1. Sandi,
    Found your personal blog (from GeneaBloggers). Great so far - keep it up. And I also have Ohio and PA roots!
    Linda J.

  2. Thank you for stopping by. Having fun. I will stop by your blog see if we have something more in common.