Piecing Together Family History

Published On: August 3rd, 2023Categories: News
Lodge No. 554

Robert and members of Meyersdale Lodge No. 554

Every family possesses an intricate puzzle of its own, one that seems extensive and never-ending. Yet, it only takes one family member to unravel the mystery family history brings. Brother Robert Platt, Meyersdale Lodge No. 554, has always enjoyed the challenge of assembling a puzzle, and genealogy work has become just that in his own life. 

Robert’s love for genealogy began after his return from the Army in 1979, where he served during the Vietnam era. Although he was always interested in family history, his love for genealogy initially sparked after he was given a Platt family photo from circa 1904. As the faces of distant family members peered back at him, he felt compelled to discover more about his family’s lineage. 

“It [genealogy] is an addiction – a good one to have,” Robert said. 

Over the years, Robert has committed himself to solving his own family’s ancestral secrets. He has worked diligently on his personal pedigree tree, which has acquired over 330,000 names.  

“It always starts with a blank pedigree chart – starting with me or my subject and going forward, or I should say, backward,” Robert explained.  

Robert started researching and locating all the Platt family members possible and repeated the same process with his mother’s side of the family. He has gone on to further research grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins and so on. So far, Robert has found seven generations of the Platt family, including George Armstrong Custer and George Washington, a historical Mason and founding father, as a first cousin six times removed.  

Pedigree Chart

Pedigree Chart for Alvin Edward Just

When unraveling family structures, Robert utilizes the internet as his main source of information, along with communication among friends and family members. He uses the program, The Family Tree Maker, to create and organize his genealogy work, which is backed up on three different computers. 

In 2014, Robert retired from his profession as a postmaster and began a part-time job as a funeral assistant. In this new role, Robert used his passion for genealogy to impact those who recently lost a loved one by creating pedigree trees of the deceased. Robert has even sent completed pedigree trees to other funeral homes to share with family members of a deceased individual. 

“It is always a good feeling, and I have never asked for or accepted anything to do the pedigree trees,” Robert said. “Just a thank you is more than enough.” 

Robert is proud to be a member of Meyersdale Lodge No. 554 and enjoys the brotherhood and countless friendships it has provided. He has completed pedigree trees for many of his fellow lodge members and has found most to be related in one way or another. His steady love for genealogy has become a healthy habit that allows him to positively impact friends, family and strangers everywhere. 

“I can’t stop! It is about making people happy and getting them interested in genealogy,” Robert said.