I am by no means an experienced genealogist but I have been picking up bits of wisdom here and there. I remember when I first joined Ancestry.com, I added my name, my parents and grandparents and then I was stuck. I knew there was a Hull in there somewhere and of course I wanted to get to Marlin Davison right away, but I had no idea where all those names and ghostly images from old pictures fit into my tree, so I went to the message boards and asked if anyone knew the name Bouck. And I waited. And waited…
I wasted a lot of time trying to fit my family into the mold I wanted to see rather than discovering them where they were in my family history. I wanted to find a whole legacy of Boucks here in my county, but I had to learn to accept that I come from a long line of apparently introverted folks who didn’t leave much of a paper trail. On the other hand, my Hulls were very active in the community and the Jerseys were also active. It took a second to remind myself that just because my last name is different than theirs does not make them any less related to me. Genes are not a respector of names, right?
Another instance of limiting myself with a mental block is when I began searching for my German ancestors. I knew they were German because of the censuses but couldn’t find them over there. Long story short, when I discovered that my family was part of the “Palatine Germans” I read up on their history and discovered they came to America via London after spending time in Holland. Well, once I had that extra information, people began appearing out of nowhere it seemed.
This weekend I was at one of the local history museums doing some research. A lady walked in who was stuck on her family’s immigration, which was from England to Canada then to Ohio. She was searching for ships, etc. I told her my German ancestor story and we were able to break down her brick wall when she realized she wasn’t opening her mind to all the possibilities. It’s good to be at the point where I can offer some help to others.