Saturday, January 16, 2010

So Many Ancestors, So Little Time

Family history is not for the faint of heart or feeble of mind. Family historians traipse hither and yon -- not always physically, but always mentally, and sometimes emotionally -- seeking one ancestor or the other, the next place to look, the next scrap of evidence. Sometimes we have nearly nothing to go on. She was in this location one year, but not 5 years later. Where did she go? Where's the next place to look to find her again? What's the next group of records to search? Which other person might lead me to her? Always the mental traipsing. Always trying to solve the mystery of where my ancestor could be; and who her spouse and parents, children and siblings are.

Sometimes I think I need to make a choice: search for ancestors or blog about ancestors, because I think I don’t have time for both. But then I remember that I transcribe and file much of what I find. I type wills, make notes from death certificates, type timelines, and keep track of what I've found in several different ways. It doesn’t take a lot of time to copy and paste into a blog editor, so why not share my findings online with family and others who are interested? I know I need to scan photographs and paper copies, save the images to TIFF files, and store them so I can have them in at least 2 different media sources in 2 different locations. Why not post them? I know other genealogy bloggers may be able to offer suggestions, too. And maybe others searching for my family will find me through this blog.

My challenge is that sometimes I feel the press of so many, many ancestors, and so very little time. Perhaps I should stop the mental traipsing. But then how would I get anywhere?!


  1. I can relate to your post. I have so many ideas about ancestors that I want to write about, yet finding time to get it done, take care of life, and even do more research is a struggle.

  2. "Houston we have a problem" I've been looking for my wife's Grandfather for years. I know where he was born (reno) I know where he was married. That's it I have no other information on him, none. It's like he is a ghost. I can only guess when he passed away. He and his wife seperated about 1918, right around the time of WWI. There was no divorce, but they did have 2 childern.

    He was an electrical engineer, and I have no info on where he went to get his degree. Some of his family found there way to DC and NY, we are fairly sure of that, but we have nothing about him.

    We found a registration card for the Military but it seems he did not enter the military.

    I don't know if he had a SS #. Maybe if he did I could find him, but I don't know how to find that out. I have no resources to apply to this effort of finding him. Do you have any suggestions for me. I need help !!!!

  3. Travis I was going to write you some words of encouragement but I just checked out your blog and it looks like you're doing great -- even if you don't have enough time! Keep it up. I think you're doing great!

    Riverdog, have you checked the Social Security Death Index at If he died after about 1934 it's possible you'll find him there. Have you checked the 1910-1930 census records? Not knowing a location makes it harder, of course, but you might be able to find a lead. If your public libary subscribes to Heritage Quest and you have a card you probably have home access. It has most of the census records. Are there any engineering organizations he might have joined? I hope you can make progress!


I appreciate your comments and look forward to reading what you have to say. Thanks for stopping by.

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