Monday, October 5, 2009

Madness Monday - Competing Ancestors

In an ideal genealogical world, conventional wisdom states that you follow one line through to completion before starting on another. But from the beginning of my research, I've never lived in an ideal genealogical world. As an African-American researcher, can you really follow all those stated rules anyway about how things are "supposed" to be done?

Even so, since I've been back at my research, I've tried to follow the conventional wisdom, then out of the blue, I get the look here, check this out feeling from one of my other lines that I've vowed not to look at until I've worked on the current ancestor / line for a specified period of time or until I've solved the case, whichever comes first. Then off I go.

So this Monday, I feel, for the the moment, I sit at a genealogical cross roads. Do I continue to pursue ggrandmom Fannie and possibly great Aunt Mattie in the process, since for me, at the moment, they are linked? Or do I continue with trying to figure out where 2ggrandmother Matilda is trying to lead me? Or do I figure out a way to work on both at the same time? Thank goodness there seems to be a bit of a lull on my paternal side or I really would be struggling but they've been known to create rumblings out of the blue, too.

What I've finally settled on, as I write today's post, is that for the moment, since my direct ancestors are still small in number, not following the conventional path works because although often times it seems like they are jocking for position, going pick me, pick me to work on next, this competition from one line sometimes helps me to come up with ideas for another line.

Until Next Time!


  1. Mavis,

    I also have a difficult time picking a line to research and sticking with it. You're right too that in African American research you can't also was follow the "rules". I usually end up switching between lines; when one trail goes cold or I hit brick wall I switch to another line. I say follow your instincts.

    Good Luck!

  2. Thanks Sandra. There are times I feel like I'm finally maturing as a researcher and other times when I'm at a cross-roads that I feel like I've still got a long way to go.


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