Monday, August 30, 2010

Genealogy Isn't Fair

Recently, I've started to research my husband's roots. Not the Coffin stuff so much, because that's been done. Rather, I'm looking at his mother's lines.

Today I sent away for my first record on that side. It's an SS-5 for his grandfather. When I get it, I will add it to my super 100% sourced database. While I am waiting, I'm adding names to my private tree on That's how I roll: Ancestry is like a big white board where I hash everything out and my RootsMagic database is the final answer.

This afternoon, I spent a couple hours looking at Mr. Amy's roots. It's fun because this line is Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, New Jersey and other states where I've done little research.

Tonight I took a look at my husband's tree with him as the home person and realized that I've named all 16 of his great-great grandparents with just a few hours research. It was quite easy.

My family? I can't get the 16th great-great grandparent after YEARS of research. I still don't know her first or maiden name. This is a poor immigrant line with an early death and minimal records, hence the difficulty.

Tomorrow I will be happy for my research accomplishment on the "other" side, but right now I'm throwing a mini pity party for one.

Sigh....genealogy is not fair.


  1. You're right - no fair! Though I almost wish I had that problem - my husband's family has a lot of ca 1900 immigrants, so it's back to Europe for some of the great-greats.

  2. Greta, that's my problem with #16. I know I need to be in Austria, but haven't connected yet. Maybe I should write a brick wall post on the issue.

  3. Yes, Michigan is rather easy, especially with the databases at FamilySearch Labs and Seeking Michigan. Ohio is not too shabby either.

  4. I hear ya! My husbands family has been here forever and left records, my side... I swear they are being difficult on purpose.

  5. Me too. I'm reveling in all that Great-Uncle Donald had to share with me, even getting to the point of getting choked up sometimes, and he's not even my Great-Uncle Donald. And my husband? Not so much. I don't get it. He hasn't even read Great-Uncle Donald's memoirs.

    And my ancestors? They like to play hide-and-go-seek. And I'm always "it". Being "it" all the time sucks.


  6. Yes, genealogy sure isn't fair. I'm an 11th generation American with 10 well known Mayflower lines. I married a first generation American. I've got some of his family tree back to the 1700's only after 30 years hard work. The rest is a complete blank!

  7. I feel your pain! Not it's not fair. I have both easy and difficult on my side of the family. Some go back to the 1600s and others I can't get back past 1850. I am lucky though to have all my great grandparents.

    I think you should try your luck with serendipity. Maybe you'll meet someone at a conference that has all the answers you need.

  8. I like your Ancestry-as-white-board idea. I think I'm going to try that. I find it so much easier when I can "see" these people...but I don't want to enter them into my official database (which is messy enough as it is), and I don't have any more room on my office walls for a real white board.

  9. I so feel your pain - I am missing 2 on my mother's side and with the circumstances (common name - Evans & a brief run away marriage and divorce) I often despair of ever completing that branch. I guess we just have to hope that genea-Santa is good to us this Christmas!!

  10. Too true! Well, focus on something else for awhile and come back to it later. It's amazing what can change in perspective and even available records in a few months these days.

  11. @Jennifer - Thank you for the Seeking Michigan resource. Never knew it existed and now have a 1904 death certificate!!!

    Great article. I feel your pain. I've been able to take my father's family line back to the 1700's. My mother's line is stuck with her father. My great grandfather came from Lithuania and changed his name upon entering the United States. The family never kept record of what it originally was so I'm confused as where to go now.

    One quick question. You mentioned a 100% sourcing database. What are you using?

    Thanks. Enjoyed your blog!

  12. Bernard, thank you for the comment. I am using RootsMagic 4. My rule is that no fact, date, name, number or anything goes in the database without a source to back it up. RootsMagic 4 has some source templates that help me, but I have to keep the discipline to enter all the citations. No easy task!