The obituaries included the names of my father's parents. I found my grandfather's obituary online and from there it took off. I made the totally unexpected discovery the paternal side of my family was quite famous in the founding of the country. In fact, my 14th Great Grandfather was one of the founders of Hartford, Connecticut.
After filling in my tree, I learned that I qualified for membership in several heritage societies. I looked over the list and settled on two. First was The National Society Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America. I had to prove thru accepted documentation that I was directly descended from a founder, someone who had been here prior to 1687, and a patriot, someone who had participated in the Revolution. Once I had the documentation together, I submitted it for review and it passed. I was admitted to the Society.
There were a few extra, really neat discoveries along the way. First I learned that my Father had remarried and had other children. I had a half brother and sister that I had never known about. In trying to learn more I posted to a family chat list and was totally blown away when I was contacted by a niece that I didn't know about. We even arranged to meet and still stay in touch.
Now surely that would be enough to satisfy my needs, right? No way! For a couple years I left my research where it was, but two weeks ago I was feeling restless. I moved my records to new software and decided to poke around a little more. It paid off big time. Though I had some prominent people in the tree already, I went looking for more. I already knew about the Adams cousins, John and Samuel, but I wasn't ready to stop there.
I kept looking and sure enough I hit the jackpot. I found a Mayflower connection. I am descended from John Alden and Priscilla Mullins Alden, who arrived as a teenager on the Mayflower. You've heard of her, she's the "speak for yourself, John", Priscilla in the Myles Standish story.