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).







But They REAL people. Bittersweet to the NEW Ancestry

First of all, How much do we love the NEW Expect a post on that soon enough. Because if you read any of my posts, you know that I’m not a huge fan of buying in to the simplicity of online research these days… and that’s because I’m OLD SKOOL, 100%. I still use PAF, I still source by my own means, and not by Ancestry doing it for me; I still watermark my photos and give credit to all photos I receive from others. I am old skool. The NEW Ancestry is just making it easier and easier.

Tonight I finally enabled it.

Which meant that all my LIVING people were suddenly visible on my tree. I can note a few things about that:

  • I shouldn’t have uploaded them in the first place
  • I did make sure that they have ALWAYS been hidden
  • And I re-read all the new terms that they are STILL hidden

Let me say that again, Living people are now visible on your tree, IF you’d uploaded them, but only to you.

But this was new for me.

And, of course, Ancestry has beefed up it’s Directories and certain Vital stats, so now people born in the 1980s have “Hints” and bonafide docs to attach.


Which means I found the death certificate for my cousin who died at 17 in 2003. And the certificate (and So many other records) for his father who died in 1995.

Real. Life. People in MY LIFE. Not 100yrs ago. Like, yesterday to me. And I have records for them now. Just like these people of my past, whom I don’t know except for their vital stats, except, that I knew these. I loved these. They were…. my family.

What a weird twist on the brain.

I am a Lover of Genealogy and History because it brings history to life. It forces you to think that these are NOT just names on a page, even if that’s all we have: basic vital stats and hopefully a few land records to prove that they owned or did something. But that’s all life proof offers after you’ve died: vital stats on a page.

Except, when you see stats for people who were more, who were 17 and were WAY too young to die. It’s hard to find my cousin’s death certificate. He’s just a child who died.
But for me, he’s an idiot kid who was having a ball with his buddies, riding a skateboard without a helmet and fell and died nearly instantly. He is more  than his vital stat.

It’s cyclical.

And it’s bittersweet.

I found his father’s Veteran’s record from Vietnam. We didn’t know that about my cousin’s father. We knew that my Aunt loved him; married him, had two children and a horrible marriage which was ultimately ended. And he, too, died way too young, leaving two adolescent children (one of those children who died 4yrs later from Stupid Skateboard).

But tonight I discovered he was a Vietnam Vet. And shared with my family  who did not know that. It doesn’t change Aunt-Marriage-Yuck-Death.

BUT, it’s an element of the story we didn’t have.

So, I thank Ancestry for beefing up their records. I don’t need my LIVING people on my screen – and I hope, I sincerely hope you are protecting them from others, when I was an idiot for uploading them (and I am a relatively smart person… so I’m more asking for people who DON”T KNOW and might blindly just upload). I don’t need my Right Now cousin’s marriage certificates in 2005. But hey, it’s there. Ok, why not. I don’t need my parents’ divorce certificate, but again, it’s there… I’ll take it.

Suddenly having my LIVING people on the screen and “hints” about them… it’s been bittersweet. There have been a few good stories. Mostly, just sad though. Finding death certificates for people that aren’t just Vital Stats to me… they were my Aunts and Uncles and Grandparents and Cousins. They are Still real humans to me.

And I know that all of my ancestry should feel that way. But whatever, I know I’m not alone in this thought. It’s just weird. 

Thank You

It’s July, 2015, and my site came up for renew.

Hopefully we all know that in the research world, we take time off… we plateau in research, and I’ve been painfully remiss in posting about my own searches recently. Doesn’t mean I’ve disappeared… just means, July and SUMMER happen.

But my site disabled for a whopping 3 days, and I received over 100+ emails from people reminding me. And those were just the people who took the time to say.. Hello.. We need you, again, check back in. 

And you have no idea how much that means to me. THANK YOU for telling me. THANK YOU for reminding me that people find this blog of my ancestry. I read the analytics, I know that 98% are finding that one post about Captain John Johnson, but there are others… all those other others that find their way here. And I appreciate you all so much.

Getting your emails to renew my site just reminds me that this is important. That I have important stuff to share. So, again, THANK YOU.
And please, tell me again next year. Because I do have lapses; I have a life outside of research, and it’s an adorable almost 6-yr old boy, and Kindergarten starting and I really need to redo my bathroom.
But I promise you… I AM here. I am not going anywhere.

I might be lapsed, but I’m still in this for the long haul. It’s been, oh wow, 22yrs now, of research, thank you for forcing me on the reminder.

But.. we’re back now. And I hope to get back to posting new (and maybe Not so New but UPDATES, because I have a few).

Thank you for sticking around and pushing me.

Happy huntings,

What a year GONE looks like

I have not “blogged” about my research in over a year.
And to any/all of you, I apologize for that. Life does kick in sometimes; it happens.

I believe in the sharing of genealogical research, always have. To me, it is the ONE great gift of this vast internet. (oh the Internet brings so many other wonderful things… and so many terrible things as well. The Sharing of Knowledge and Research is one that I will continue to hold on to for some time… I hope). I remain optimistic that we are philanthropically interested… to give back.

In my year of not blogging, I have:
– responded to nearly 200 personal emails, mainly through my Rootsweb database or through my personal website
– fixed over 50 “postem’s” to my Rootsweb database
– updated my Rootsweb database at least 6 times… I’ll admit, it’s now been a few weeks, but I’m trying to get back on getting my Most Recent Version ( I try every month, but… life happens)
– found an amazing HUGE number of ERRORs on my own, through post-ems, through emails

Errors… they’re just awful.
I despise propagating incorrect information. I regret so much in my youth of being a bad researcher. I’d say nearly 95% of the post-ems and emails I get about corrections are not about my own line… but of lines that are in my database, that came from when I was a horrible researcher and didn’t document anything as far as Source. It pains me that I have probably 1/4 of a database of legitimate, documented research… and the rest is really… “internet stuff”.

Lessons learned. And once in the database, can I clean? NO. No, I have no choice but to upload the whole she-bang and hope that people communicate with me on my discrepancies.

So, I’m not blogging. I miss my blogger friends and my blogger world. I miss genealogy research as a whole. My TODO list is just unimaginable right now… but it is the way of it.

POINT BEING: I will respond to emails, comments, post-ems. I will fix. I might not be 24/7 online to blog about new research, but I’m still here.

“Thank you Jo for all you do and give back”…. it’s a statement recently said to me, and two things I note: that #1, you know I’m trying; and #2, you don’t know my full name which means we haven’t communicated over email or anything beyond this blog. And that is OK too! that both encourages me and gives me despair. I give back when I have the chance; and while that’s not good enough… it’s just how it is right now. I will continue to post everything I know on my Rootsweb. That will remain constant, every few months if not more.


yes, I’m utilizing a post to offer apologies. But I feel it. It’s so sad to see that I haven’t posted since February. This is the unfortunate thing of amateur, “hobby” (although that doesn’t exactly fit me either and is somewhat saddening), genealogical research. There are high and low points.

I’m just busy. Who knew at part-time job at the local Historical Society would become something, honestly, more than full-time. I LOVE IT! I’m in heaven. But it means my time is elsewhere.

So, here’s my apology. Things will be greatly different in a month, where my nights will be without other commitments, so I’ll, no-doubt, have time for research and posting again.

I am not gone. Please send me comments and emails. I’ll respond!

Happy huntings