11Alive Anchor Ted Hall has spent years telling people's life stories. Now, he wants to learn more about his own.
His past is clear: a childhood split between Minnesota, Idaho and western Canada, then a career that started in the smallest television station in America, and led to Atlanta.
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It's his family history that is still shrouded in mystery.
"There's so much to learn. So much that I don't know. I'm jealous of the fact that so many people have a real, huge pride in where they came from."
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With the help of Anastasia Harman, genealogist with Ancestry.com, Ted mapped out his family tree and learned new things about his family's past.
Harman and her research team discovered that Ted's ancestors are from Sweden, Norway and England. And while there are some relatives in the farming industry, research shows the bulk of his ancestors were miners. In fact, Ted's great-grandfather on his mother's side, Albert Kitto, left England for America in 1880 and settled in northeastern Minnesota, a big mining area. Nine years prior to his journey, the 1871 England Census listed him as a "miner" at age 12.
"This is just fascinating stuff," Ted said, while looking over century-old census documents. "Farmers and miners and teachers it sounds like."
"And news anchors," added Harman.
Ted traveled to the Soudan Underground Mine in Soudan, Minnesota to get a taste of what life was like for his relatives toiling for hours hundreds of feet underground.
A tour guide at the state park took him more than 2,000 feet down into the mine -- and it's much different now than it was for his ancestors. The tunnels are well-lit; up until 1918, miners worked by candlelight.
"It's just different than what I expected down here," Ted said, while inside. "It's dark; it would be really, really hard work."
And, while temperatures inside the Soudan Underground Mine are warm, in the 1800s mines were described as hot, oppressive and very dangerous. Experts say the rock face could reach 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
"How they would sacrifice and basically work in the dark, and risk themselves, it's just fascinating how they would sacrifice so much for us."
You can trace your family's history at www.Ancestry.com.