I have been working on my family history long enough now that I have ran into temporary barriers on most of the lines I am tracking. Having hit this series of walls has slowed my activity and caused me to start thinking about my genealogical wanderings in a slightly different light. I decided, in fact, to try some new strategies and even, since my efforts so far have mostly been via the online world, maybe work on some new data sources that are only available with snail mail or physical searches. I think it is probably time for me to branch out a little anyway.
Wouldn’t you know it, as soon as I decided I needed to do this, and before I had actually done anything different, I ran into a new cache of information and an promising new resource person on one of my stalled lines. I think there must be something in our brains that builds artificial barriers to spare us endless frustrations when we are locked into a monotony of repetition. As soon as I firmly decided to abandon my existing patterns, I was able to see a track in data I had already plowed through many times but that had, up to now, escaped my attention.
Not only did I find the identity of a single ancestor which allowed me to sort out a lot of confusing information I had collected but I was led to a distant relative who still lives in the region that my ancestors settled and spent their lives in and who I am sure is going to become a valuable resource in my future research. It is just another example of why you shouldn’t despair and keep on plugging. If you haven’t found what you are looking for the data may indeed be missing, but there is also a very good chance that it is just your observation that is wanting.