Saturday, September 1, 2012

SNGF - Who am I?

Or rather...What am I?  That's the question posed this week by genealogist Randy Seaver via his Genea-Musings blog.  He asked us to write about what type of genealogist we are in relation to various titles and definitions offered up by fellow genea-blogger, Lorine McGinnis Schulze.

This was so easy, it was almost ridiculous.  Hands down, I am a "Hunter / Detective".  According to her list, The Hunter or Detective: "...loves the research. While they want to find their own ancestors, they'll research anyone's ancestry just for the thrill of the hunt. They are easily sidetracked from their own ancestral research by the challenge of solving a stranger's brick wall."

I have researched my own tree.  Obviously I still am researching it.  But a few years ago, I became frustratingly bored with my research.  I was hitting dead-ends left and right, my life didn't allow for traveling to find the documents that weren't available online, and I couldn't afford the fees for the documents that were available.  

About this same time, I had made a connection with a "friend of a friend" who had a genealogy interest, but had stopped researching.  Would I be interested in taking a look?  Umm...YES!  Before long, I was asked by my girlfriend if I would research her family.  Sure!  Both of these experiences proved to be invaluable as I had to put my skills as a researcher to work while searching out people I had no family connection to, and I knew nothing of their ancestors prior to my search.

The "friend of a friend", although serious about his genealogy interest, turned out to be a wee bit creepy and stalker like.  That project was cut short before it got too far along, but I did make some fantastic historical progress for my girlfriend - well I thought it was anyway, and she seemed generally pleased as well with the results I presented to her.

There was also a friend who claimed a connection with the assassin of President McKinley, an acquaintance who was just looking for extra help in what a cousin had already researched, a friend who had been told his family had a connection to a "legendary" outlaw family in the area, a friend who had run into a dead end, the neighbor around the corner who had hit the spot where I was a few years ago and just needed a new set of eyes on his material, and the friend who wanted a completed family tree and asked for her husband's family to be researched in addition to her side.

In each instance, I happily volunteered to rise to the challenge, because in each instance it was as if a brand new puzzle was dumped out on the floor before me - just waiting for me to find the pattern that each piece needed to line up and form the completed picture.  Some of these came to an end in my research - either by request, by natural progression, or finding the answer they were looking for.  Some of these I'm still working on...occasionally.  When I have those days when my mind isn't focused on the familiar names of my own family, and I need something fresh and new to look at, I'm always happy to pull out a new set of names and track down the next clue.

C.


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