Saturday, October 1, 2011

October is Family History Month

It's Family History month and I plan on spending it trying to make sense of all this!


In previous posts and for my 2011 Genealogy Goal I told the story of Una/Viola and Mary/Martha, my grandmother and great-grandmother who were proving to be very elusive to me. When I set my ONE goal for the year, to find Mary, I felt that I was being a little lazy. I don't feel lazy about this any more.

I finally have some promising evidence that is pulling the pieces together and a family is starting to form. Actually, at this point I'm in information overload mode! I have 28 pages of probate records, from Illinois, including documents from two of the heirs contesting the will. The best part...the papers list the daughter's married names! I also have two sets of marriage registers, from Nebraska, that list the father and the mother with a maiden name. All of these pieces are allowing me to tie two generations together. I am waiting on additional documents before I feel comfortable enough to unveil my family, but I'm certain I have them.

This journey to find these women and their family has brought several points home for me. We get fixated on what we THINK we know and where we THINK a person should be based on one piece of information we have or one story we were told. That doesn't help and we need to keep an open mind:
  • Families did move around, but seldom was it random and seldom was it solo. There was a reason, a person or a thing that motivated them.
  • Just because a person was born in Ohio then married and died in Illinois doesn't mean she didn't live in Nebraska at some point in her life.
  • If you find someone that fits your person, in every way, don't automatically dismiss them because you think they couldn't have possibly lived in California. Check it out further.
  • Sometimes you have to eliminate families from the picture before you can move on.
  • And most of all...you intuition knows more than you think it does!
I am looking forward to the month of October and discovering more of my family history, particularly on this line. Stay tuned, if the remaining documents I am waiting for confirm what I've found I will have Una/Viola Mary/Martha's story ready for the holidays.