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Jul 23

Researching

Minureman Photo

Minuteman Statue in Lexington

I have been working on my grandfather project for almost two years now.   I started my work with a record my great aunt put together almost 60 years ago.  She was a very dedicated researcher.  She dug through records, sent out letters, waited patiently for responses.  She would have made a history teacher proud.   However I think she missed the fun part or she kept that to herself.  I want to imply with each and every name I find just a tiny part of the  ‘-‘ that is found between the date of birth and the date of death.  How did these people come to live there, what historical events or flow led them there, what happened in their region that influenced the flow of time.  To me this is the best part of studying history and my overall goal with my project.  What was it like to live in the ‘-‘ time of their lives.   

With each name that I find I take the time and research their names,  the city that they lived in, a timeline for that region.  It helps me place them into their regions and often I find their names in the history.  I have found ancestors who settled in some truly amazing American places.   My cute little grandbabies are from true American settlers.  We have ancestors who were among the first to settle in Jamestown,  who arrived on the Mayflower, who settled with the Dutch in New Amsterdam, who journeyed with Daniel Boone into the wilds of Kentucky, who were neighbors with Jefferson – the list is amazing.  I am putting all those hours of history classes to work.   However I have to wonder about ancestry.com which I have used almost exclusively for my work.

Those who post on ancestry.com need to take time and look at the facts they are finding.   Just this morning I was looking at a family line that made perfect sense until I  got out a pencil and tablet and started doing the math.  The mother married at the age of 10 and died before the direct ancestor was born…………….   When I tracked this forward I found the more direct ancestor  listed in other lines with dates that fit but someone in their zeal of finding the mothers  name hit the post button and there for all to find were incorrect dates.  This is’nt the first time I have found something like this and had to backtrack or forward track to find a better fit.  I have a solid understanding of dates and times and know enough to research and make sure that what I am adding to my work makes sense but I have to wonder about those who are embracing ancestry.com and just posting what they find. 

This is a great journey and I spend time everyday working on it.  My desk is full of 3X5 cards with names on them.  I have a basket sitting next to my desk full of things I have found and printed out.  I am in true writers mode- this project is in my mind all the time and time spent working on it is happy and interesting.   I am always thinking –what next!   My main grumble is that people download things onto ancestry.com that make no sense.   If you are using ancestry.com to aid in your research take a minute or two and look forward- look backward and see if what you are so eager to include in your search is logical.  WIkipedia is a great place to start and more often than not will give you the answer.  Wiki is not an acceptable source for academically based research but it is a great place to begin. 

Glen is constantly telling me that I need to blog my research so I will try to be better at it.  I know that I will find and be able to define and describe some truly incredible finds in the months to come so I will make my best efforts to update this blog.  

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