They Are People…Just like you and me

I’m bored.

I’ll be honest, I’ve become stagnant at research recently. I’m SO plateau’d out on my lines. I’m just dead in the water. I get on Ancestry every few months to see if there’s anything new. I run the gamut of Family Search and other sites poignant to my names. But really… I’m STUCK.

The Loops need Germany.
No one seems to know the heritage of my YOUNG family lines.
I could research all the siblings and family lines of my kiddo’s ancestry…. but why do that; someone else already has. Why should I take the time to fill up my database with siblings of kids and more kids and more siblings when they’re not of a direct line.

I’m bored.

Do you ever get there?


Above are my gGrandparents.

One of the best photos I have in my collection.
Or at least I think so, because it’s awesome and weird.
I have it framed in my house and the more I look at this photo, the more it confuses me. There are people IN the car.

If this was a planned photo, why isn’t everyone out of the car?
So is it not planned? Do they have a flat tire? What in the world are they doing there just hanging out at their car?

And I think this is exactly where I am.


I want stories.

I’ve been filling up my Database with names and information for 23yrs and now I have a huge database and multiple lines reaching back to royalty and Yay.

But what I don’t have are stories.

I don’t have photos of most of my gGrandparents.

I don’t have understanding of who they were.

I have documents and lines and census records, but no feeling of these people.

AND… I’m frustrated.

I’m frustrated that I sent this photo to a handful of people years ago. And then I posted it on my website (sans watermark). And now it is all over Ancestry.

And that’s OK.

I mean… I need to define what exactly makes me mad. I’m not mad that everyone has the photo.

I’m frustrated that Ancestry makes it SO EASY to just copy and take to your own record, the photo that belongs to someone else.

OF COURSE I want to share.

OF COURSE I would give a cousin anything, without even thinking. Without question. Without judgement or concern. We’re all here to learn and research and grow as researchers.

But it’s frustrating to see my photos, which I own the originals, that I shared…. now just pop up all over this internet with no concern for where they came from.

Because the people in these photos… they are real people. They are not just people in your database. They are my people. These are my gGrandparents! My father remembers them, has stories of them, received love from them.

They are Real People. They were real. They have stories. I might not know them. But if anyone should have them in their database with photos of their heads and eyes and talk about their fashion and come up with ideas of where they were on that day…. it should be ME, (or the 6 other cousins that call them gGrandparents) because they are my history.

Their stories Made my grandparents, who made my father, who made me.

We’re NOT just talking people in a database. We’re talking humans with lives.

I’ve been at this for 23yrs and I’m just now starting to understand this.

Of course it’s a little different for people from the 1700s. There are no photos and the cousins shared are a huge group.

But when we’re talking people who were alive to be photographed…

I’m bored with just the database.

I want to know more.

I want to find the stories.

I’m off now researching the area that they lived at the time. I’m writing as much of their story that I can find, even if it’s not about them… it’s where they lived. To get to know the culture and the time and their experience.

Because I’m bored 🙂 I’m stagnant at my lines right now. 

Tonight I post this photo again with a new watermark. And we’ll see when I find it again on Ancestry. I didn’t post any names, so probably never.


I don’t want to just research names. I want stories. I want as much background as I can find. I want more… plain and simple.

I guess that’s my new ambition… to be a better researcher than I’ve been in the past.
And I challenge you all to be the same.
Look Beyond the database.


Give some kudos to the lives that they had.

They deserve that respect, right?

(Oh I’m so preaching right now! So not me. Maybe I’m just in a moment…. let’s all try to take it with us).







It’s a Small World

Just a personal story to share….

I teach classes online to national organizations. I’m always interested to speak to people from other areas, and I’m good at hearing accents (especially being from North Carolina).
So when I was talking to an organization in Wyoming, I knew this woman was from North Carolina, and more specifically, the Piedmont area.

When the training was over I had to ask…. “Are you originally from Wyoming?”
“No, I’m from North Carolina” Nailed it! “from Greenville, actually from a small town called Kinston”

My immediate response… “oh yes, I know Kinston. My whole family is from that area, am related to the Kilpatricks and Mewborns and Webbs”

Small gasp. “My aunt married a Webb”

And so it was that on a random training last week, me in Oregon and a woman in Wyoming, we realized that we were related. Not directly, her aunt married a Webb. But I have her aunt & the Webb uncle in my database.

It’s a small small world.

What’s in a Surname?

I love it when you’re having a simple conversation and mention that you do genealogy research. And the response is, “how far have you traced back?” For a moment, I’m a bit bewildered. Of course I realize they’re asking about MY personal last name, as though that’s the only name I research. I normally offer up something like, “well, my father’s last name traces back to the 1850s from Germany” and leave it at that.

But if I’m feeling frisky and a bit combative, I laugh and say, “which name?” Leaving them equally bewildered and not sure how to respond.

If I left my research to only my given last name, it’d be short. Really short. Granted, I find lil notes and tidbits here and there, more filling in the gaps of the historical story of my Three generations in America. And I suppose I could start researching beyond, in Germany, hiring someone to do some research for me or finding a way to stumble around German websites (to begin with).

But how many researchers really leave it at only their given surname?
Isn’t that a bit insulting to your mothers surname, which is Equally important to putting You on this earth?
And then come the grandparents, again, wouldn’t be here without Them. So on and so forth.

Even when I mention something to my family, and the “story” or the “line” comes from a female line, it’s as if the brain shuts off a bit. As though the female lines aren’t as important. As though the only lines that matter are the male lines – Who gave birth to the Females! Can we say… oh, a bit of gender inequality here?

Sunday randomness.