Thursday, January 12, 2017

What if . . . . . . .?

This past week my family had to deal with a lot of "what ifs". My grandson came into this world with his angel wings on January 5. Each of us have had moments when we asked ourselves, each other and the hospital staff "what if we/I had done this or that"? The answer was always the same -- It wouldn't have changed things. Really?

I got to thinking about this "text book" answer that I assume is supposed to make you feel better and, of course, the genealogy lobe of my brain took over. Not only could I see that it might not really be true, but it gave me a whole new research concept.

What If. . . . . . . . . .? 

As I sat all alone in my living room I thought about what had just happened and I slowly realized that there was a time when the end result of pregnancy was not a given. Mothers died. Babies died. Mothers appeared and disappeared in the census records. Other women took their place and then they were gone. Widowers married sister-in-laws and widows just to be able to to maintain the household and take care of the surviving children. Yes, surviving! Birth was not a free ticket to adulthood.

And then it dawned on me. What if my sister would not have been stillborn. I am sure my life would have been a lot different. I would not be an only child. I would have nieces and nephews. Or maybe I wouldn't even be here at all.

What if my grandmother would not have immigrated from Germany. None of us would be here. What if they would not have left Russia? Let's not go there.

What if my grandmother would not have fallen out of the hayloft, suffered a miscarriage and died that afternoon? My dad might have stayed in Clermont County and never would have met my mom. 

What if. . . . . . .?

So how does this become a genealogy tool? Well! Let's think about those brick walls. What if there was a "what if"? What if this had not happened where would my ancestor be? What if something happened that created a fork in the road? Maybe you took the wrong fork in your research. Maybe you didn't know there was another fork. 

What if there was a war? What if your ancestor was looking for religious freedom? What if there was no way across that mountain? What if there was gold in California? What if your ancestor killed someone and headed west to disappear? What if your ancestor had to return to the Old Country to take care of family members? What if your ancestor just went on vacation for a few years!?

"What ifs" create detours in genealogy research. Maybe you missed that right turn. Think about what was going on that might have created a "what if". Look at your genealogy problem from a different angle.

Unfortunately  in our case we have already experienced the "what if" and no amount of wishful thinking will bring our littlest angel back. The "what ifs" have already happened and that chapter in our family tree has been written.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

A common ancestor?

I just had a thought. Like this is strange, right? It happens a lot, out of the blue, for who knows what reason.

I really don't know what made me put this thought together in my head, but then most of the time I refuse to be responsible for what happens between my ears and behind my eyes.

It has recently been called to my attention by a movie, The Internship, that if you want to work at Google you need something called googliness. I can believe this, but then I live in a village in Ohio.

So my question is this - Is googliness inherited? Is it in a person's DNA? Do the employees at Google all descend from a common ancestor? 

Ya gotta wonder.


Monday, September 12, 2016

I guess I am not alone

I am amazed at the number of people who were interested in my post about genealogy being a dangerous hobby. The hits on my blog multiplied before my eyes. It made me think that maybe this is a subject that needs to be examined.

I know that recently I have seen warnings in articles about DNA testing. Basically it says that you must be prepared to see results that you didn't expect or might be upsetting. 

So maybe the world of genealogy isn't as squeaky clean as we would like to think it is. We tend to see our ancestors as the most wonderful, loving people on the face of the earth. After all we are their descendants, and we have inherited all of their wonderful characteristics.  

As genealogists, we come across family folk lore all the time and we treat it as a clue to a documented fact, but maybe the rumor is more accurate than the actual vital record. 

A birth certificate only proves that the mother and child are related. If the mother is married the husband becomes the child's father, whether it is true or not. Once his name is on the birth certificate he becomes the father. 

See not everything is cut and dried. So once again we have the danger of genealogy research, but this time it is not because we have a group of people who don't want to be connected to their ancestors.

Instead we have a family member who might know the truth about a situation in the family and doesn't want to expose those family secrets. And how far will that person go to protect the family?

So do you expose those DNA results or not? 

Sometimes genealogy can be dangerous hobby!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Genealogy can be a dangerous hobby!

Oh Dear! It has happened again. I began researching what I thought would be a interesting topic for a genealogy lecture. The more I read about it the more fascinating it became. A friend of mine was also very interested in the subject matter and she started reading what was available online. And then something rather strange happened. It started to be a bit scary!

So you have to ask yourself "How can genealogy research be scary?" Trust me, I know the answer. There are people out there who do not want to be connected to their ancestors. Most of us find this hard to believe because we love those skeletons in our closets. They add a little something to our family trees. 

The group of people that we were researching were amazing, but extremely private and their descendants do not want anyone delving into their past. It didn't take long for us to get the message. Back off!! It is a shame, but we will respect their wishes. This brings up the question of how far can you go when researching your family?

Every family has problems and eventually you will be faced with them in your research. The skeletons in your family unfortunately leave the most records. Do you expose them or do you just pass over them with basic vital records like they had no "dash"? I guess it depends on whether or not you feel threatened. I know someone who was researching my mother's family who was threatened and dropped her research. 

We don't think of genealogy as a dangerous hobby or profession, but some times it can be. When you are threatened, or when you are asked to leave a cemetery and followed to make sure you do, or when the staff or maintenance workers at a cemetery clam up and refuse to talk about their "guests" it is time to drop that research and move on.

Will that family ever be found? Perhaps. As we move from generation to generation and further away from the problem memories fade. What once was a disgrace no longer seems so bad. Maybe a few years down the road this fascinating group of people will be the subject of may lectures. As for right now, I don't think so.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Ohio Tax Holiday Weekend

Just a reminder to all Ohio genealogists looking for "school supplies." September always seems like the beginning of genealogy season to me. Most groups take the summer months off so members can travel to places their ancestors lived, attend conferences, and visit repositories. So now it it time to get back to school (because we are always learning something new in the world of family research).

This weekend in Ohio all items that qualify as something needed for school are tax free. No customer will pay state or county taxes. And don't forget to hunt for coupons before you go.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

To my great grandaughter - The glass ceiling has been broken; the sky is the limit!

On June 24, I became a great-grandmother. I felt so lucky and so blessed that I was able to see the beginning of a new generation in my family. It was a rather strange feeling. It felt like a new beginning in my life and I couldn't stop smiling. As a mother in labor, you pray to see your child born. At that moment when you see your child, you see the next generation but you don't think about that. 

You don't think about generations to come, even if you are a genealogist.

And it takes years before you start to think about the possibility of grandchildren. Some moms don't want that day to come. They will be perceived as old. Some can't wait, regardless of their age. And there are ways to get around the problem of being called grandmother. You can make up a name like nana, mawma, and a hundred other things I have heard. But when the fog of birth disappears you are still grandma.

It is crazy but I don't have any friends who object to being called great-grandmother. It is like a badge of honor. 

A few days after my great-granddaughter was born I was getting ready to meet up with friends at a local Mexican restaurant. I caught my reflection in the mirror. I sure didn't look like a great grandmother. As I drove down Crissy Road on my way to Loma Lindas I thought about my own great grandmothers. Should I look like them? No way! And then I started thinking about all the differences between all of us.

All of my great grandmothers wore long skirts. The had long hair. And they were all different. One was a pioneer in the Great Black Swamp. Another immigrated from Prussia. Yet another was an abolitionist and had three sons who made it home from the Civil War. The last died young and never got to see her young children live to adulthood, let alone see her own grandchildren.

And here I was off to celebrate with the girls (other grandmothers) at the local Mexican Restaurant. No horse and buggy. No restrictions. No one looking down their noses at us. 

If we wanted to we could party like it is 1999. I doubt that Grandma Perkins or Grandma Rochte could have partied like it was 1899. Although from what i have heard Grandma Rochte might have tried. She was a neat lady. 

My great grandmothers did not have the right to vote. But my great granddaughter has the right to be President of the United States of America.

End of discussion.  


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Frugal Tips!

It is Father's Day in a little more than a week. That, of course, means bargains and savings that will benefit the genealogist. - 10% off on DNA kit for Dad. $89.00 

And my favorite - Kroger. 4X fuel points on gift cards. 
  If you are going to a conference this summer or planning a research trip these gift card specials can help your budget in many ways. Purchase the cards you will need for your trip. Save money on gas with the extra fuel points.

And let's not forget - Back to school coupons! are only a couple of months away. Genealogists still use school supplies and this is your chance to stock up. 
Great prices on supplies and coupons in the Sunday inserts.