Genealogy According to Jeff

These are the tales of and the lessons learned from a family history/genealogical researcher.

My research and life have a number of similarities. I am interested in a wide variety of topics which makes it difficult to become a master of any. My family research similarly has not focused on any single branch of the family or a geographic location. Most people doing family research say that they would eventually like to publish the information that they have collected.

Some people have published "Their branch of the Family" following the three brothers that came to the US in the 1700s. Others have published books with names like the "Smith Jones Thompson Anderson Families of Campbell County, VA."

I did not want to concentrate on a single family line. My family never stayed in an area long enough for me to get really interested in the families from a single location, Bureau County, IL would be the closest. Taking a realistic look at my research I realized that what I can publish is the lessons learned while gathering information on a family that gave me a wealth of great examples for genealogical research.

Your research might be easier if you "Do as I say, not as I did." Remember that life is a journey and there are lessons to be learned on all of paths.

Lost in the Woods?

In Harold Kushner's book When All You've Ever Wanted Isn't Enough he tells a Hasidic story about a man who became lost in the woods. "He wandered around for hours trying to find his way back to town, trying one path after another, but none of them led out. Then abruptly he came across another hiker walking through the forest. He cried out, "Thank God for another human being. Can you show me the way back to town?" The other man replied, "No, I'm lost too. But we can help each other in this way. We can tell each other which paths we have already tried and been disappointed in. That will help us find the one that leads out."

Anyone reading this is likely also lost in the woods of Genealogy. Unfortunately there is no way out. Over the years I have been trying to help other researchers by letting them know what I have found going down the various paths. Maybe it will help some people avoid an unnecessary trip or hopefully it will let them know which path had some useful records along the way.

Good luck with your research,