Sometimes I get bogged down in the branches of my cumbersome family tree. I am way past the easy swinging from branch to branch that often happens at the beginning; where you find your grandparents and from there just start connecting the dots by clicking on all the flashing leaves on ancestry.com or going to all the regular first sources like census records, death records, etc. After awhile the easy stuff is gone and you actually have to start doing the hard research like emailing researchers in other states, calling county courthouses, or sometimes even driving to the county and doing on the ground research. Don’t get me wrong I love this part of the research. All the time and effort is worth it when I find that piece to the puzzle I have been searching for. But it is hard for me to do this type of research right now because it takes a great deal of focus and I have 4 kids – one of whom is 17 months old and into everything. So, lately I find myself blogging about my research more than actually researching.
But this week I got to experience the rush again – that first step research where if you can just put in the right information the hints start coming and it is just boom, boom, boom; one generation after the other. What a thrill ride that is!
First, while helping my friend clear some stuff at her parent’s house we found an old photo album and in that album were some very old pictures, one of a Rosa Wolfe born 1869 (the picture was 1875) Then there were others all related to Wolfe. And these people were related to my friend’s recently deceased father. So I wrote down what information we could readily glean from the pictures and came home to do some research. Man, that was fun! I quickly filled in his tree all the way back to her Jewish German Wolfe immigrant.
Then, last night, my daughter had a friend over and he was interested in his family history so I quickly got some information from him and spent the rest of the evening following the hints – found his Indian ancestor, his Bohemian ancestors and so many others, 7 generations in fact! We even found pictures posted by other researchers! (I love this!) It was just so much fun I had a hard time tearing myself away to get back to my own work. He thought, as a Champlain, that he might be related to the explorer Samuel De Champlain, he’s not but the search was interesting and I got to learn about the Champlain surname.
While working on others trees I see repositories I had forgotten about and jot them down to research my own family later. These experiences give me renewed interest and energy to pursue my own tree.