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I can’t really explain it.  I don’t have a childhood memory that relates either to a cookie jar, or to some furtive pleasure that’s connected with breaking through a barrier (brick wall?).  But when I pause to consider why I enjoy genealogy so much, I always seem to come back to this metaphor:  

Every time I make a breathtaking discovery, it seems as though I’ve just snatched a cookie out of a cookie that I wasn’t supposed to raid.  [Heh, heh.]

Is that the feeling you get, or is it different?  

Henry Z. “Hank” Jones, Jr. writes about “Psychic Roots,” and he argues that the ancestors WANT us to find them.  I can’t take issue with that, because I often end up feeling a “connection” of some kind with some of the individuals I research.  

But the way that I describe my glee, at snatching some discovery away from the black hole of lost family history, suggests something entirely different.  I feel as though “someone” has been hiding something from me -- something that I was NEVER supposed to know -- and that, against all odds, I’ve managed to seize this prize!

So, for today’s Open Thread, share with me your own thoughts about what it feels like to make a significant breakthrough.  I’ll give an example below the fold, and cite a real-life road block to my getting results in my paternal line.

Still here?  Good!  Now I have to reveal a bit about my chosen “handle” of “Zwenkau.”  That’s the village, south of Leipzig, where I’ve encountered the real-life road block to which I refer above.  

My special interest is German genealogy.  And while I don’t (yet) speak the language, some years ago I taught myself to read the old script so that I could make use of the many churchbooks and other records that the Family History Library has available.

I started this in a very tentative fashion before I retired, but quickly retreated when I encountered some frustration over not knowing how to pursue what I did find.  Later, as I had more time to read films, I began to sharpen my skills and understanding.

Soon I was using my digital camera to take some reference photos of filmed records I’d found.  And the more experience I gained, the more I could refer back to those images and decipher words that had stymied me months before.  Eventually I became adept enough at this that I was able to send a German woman a transliteration of a couple of postcards her grandmother had written years ago.  Which makes the point that most Germans today don’t know how to read that script, either; it hasn’t been taught since the 1920s....

So far, so good.  If a churchbook has been filmed, and you can read it, you’re on your way.  The church was the official record keeper historically, and what we call “vital statistics” weren’t found in civil registers in most of Germany before the unification of 1871.  To learn about the ancestors, one simply went to the churchbook(s) of the church that person attended.

Now comes the road block.  What if one can’t gain access to the churchbook(s)?  Now, you may know that the Mormons have met some resistance in getting records filmed.  I won’t get into why that is, but even where it is the case it is often possible to get the information by other means.  A German researcher might be able to see the record in question by visiting a church archive, as one example.

But what if no one is permitted to view these records?  No one, that is, but church archivists.  That’s the state of affairs in what was once the post-1815 Kingdom of Saxony, where the village of Zwenkau is to be found.  Not even German genealogists can see these records!  Instead, one pays a stiff “research fee” to have a church "archivist" look something up, and even then you may not get the complete record.  Moreover, the designated official is probably too busy with other church duties to spend but a brief time finding your record(s).

And so begins the search for work-arounds.   What can be used when the vital statistics aren’t easily available?  In my case, it was Kingdom of Saxony court records that the Mormons have been permitted to film.  I’ll briefly explain.

Through a German-American genealogical researcher, I obtained the wording (in good German) for two letters I was to prepare and send to two churches in Saxony.  I knew from family lore the names of the two towns where my great-grandfather had lived as a boy with his parents, and the researcher gave me the addresses of the churches to which I should send my requests (and money).

My great-great grandparents had produced 13 children overall, their births split between the two towns.  Because I was asking for information about emigrants, both churches responded with birth and baptism information (for a price!).  From the first church I also received information from the marriage record of this couple, including the names of the fathers of the bride and groom.  But that was as far as it went.  Being naïve, I wrote back to the first church in my own words, enclosing additional Euros and asking for more data on the family.  I never heard back; the door had closed.

Now what??  Having studied German culture in the 19th century, I knew that Germans did not travel from one town to the next without registering in the new town.  Could there be some documents available that would shed light on the husband and father of this family?  I used the dates of the last birth in the first town and the first birth in the second town to give me a “window” of time in which such a record or records would be found.  And, I was fortunate in that the second town was larger (Zwickau), and indeed had preserved such documents within the court records filmed by the Mormons.

Cookie jar number one!!  There were three documents, in fact, and they were filmed one after another on the same reel of film.  [If the interest is there, I’ll share what they said in a comment.]

But what about the first town?  Would there be anything that could shed light on family there?  Indeed there was.  And, again, it was the court records that saved the day.

I went on a “fishing expedition” in my second trip to Salt Lake’s FHL.  I ordered in advance the "Vault Films" that gave court records for Zwenkau’s district, and then devoted a block of time to scanning the films in search of anything I might find.

Cookie jar number two!!  In the 1830s I found, back-to-back, two real estate deeds for my family.  In the first one, my great-great grandfather is apparently buying his first house days before a child is born to the couple.  But it’s the second deed that was the prize.

The second deed was for a one-acre garden plot.  Nothing spectacular, you’d say?  Not so!  It was a small plot being sold out of the family, and one for which there was no clear title.  This land was being sold because my 3rd great-grandmother had just died, and it had been she who had inherited the plot from her mother, who in turn had received it from hers.  That 5th great-grandmother had received it from her brother some sixty years previous.  

How do I know this?  Because, in selling the land to outsiders, the family had to supply a chain-of-title that would convince the buyer that no one would likely be able to file a claim against the land.  And so, because of this quirk, I gained the names of seven ancestors and relatives.  All without the benefit of churchbooks.  You could have peeled me off the ceiling.

Before the flight home, I texted my wife from the airport that I was “bringing seven new relatives with me.”  She should have known me better than to fall for my joke, but I suppose the shock of even imagining being introduced to seven more of my family was just more than she could bear!!  

But I couldn’t have helped myself; my hand was in the cookie jar again!!


My ancestors....

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (13+ / 0-)

    "There is no way to give to honest toil its just reward--its full share of all wealth produced--but by the full application of the single tax. And righteousness and justice require it to be done." --A. Moll, 1897

    by Zwenkau on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 09:00:11 AM PDT

  •  Nice post. (9+ / 0-)

    I enjoyed this very much!

    There are, in every age, new errors to be rectified, and new prejudices to be opposed. ~Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

    by slksfca on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 09:06:42 AM PDT

  •  This was great! (8+ / 0-)

    I loved reading this. And I'm also jealous of such a wonderful find.

    I'm going to google Zwenkau now to see if it's anywhere near my ancestors' homeland.

    •  Zwenkau is located... (6+ / 0-)

      just south of Leipzig, and in fact is at the end of a Leipzig city bus line that fishhooks in from the south to avoid the brown coal strip-mining areas surrounding the village on three sides.  The whole area is part of the former DDR ("East Germany"), but it's the southern portion that's to the north of the Czech Republic.

      "There is no way to give to honest toil its just reward--its full share of all wealth produced--but by the full application of the single tax. And righteousness and justice require it to be done." --A. Moll, 1897

      by Zwenkau on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 09:31:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  great diary! (7+ / 0-)

    I'm reading this during a layover, so can't stick around. I enjoy learning about different sources of research in Germany, so am looking forward to more diaries from you. keep them coming!

  •  Nice find! (9+ / 0-)

    Was there someone there at SLC who was able to translate it for you?  My frustration early on in my German research was that I would find the names but had no frikken' clue what the document was saying.

    I took 4 years of German so that I could read these old documents better, but sometimes the handwriting is so bad (the old script itself isn't so much of a problem as I've also trained my eyes to read it - most of the time), or the document was so faded or stained, that I still couldn't make out what it said.

    I probably haven't paid enough attention to the state  records (as opposed to church records), so you've inspired me to go back through the LDS catalog and see what else is there that I really should look at.

    In any case, who knew a land deed would tell you so much?  7 generation?  Wow, that's a dream come true.

    Wonderful diary.  I'm looking forward to your next installment!

    •  Woah, there! Not generations, but... (9+ / 0-)

      relatives and ancestors.  Important enough!  I had the name of my 3rd GGF from my 2nd GGF's marriage record, but not the name of the mother.  She was named, and her death date was implied.  Then her mother and maternal grandmother were named, so that was extending the line by two generations (but only along one side).  Then the brother of the 5th GGM was named, so that's four new names.  Lastly, the 3rd GGF was named along with three children (my 2nd GGF included) as heirs.  And because one child was a daughter her husband was also named.  That brings the total to seven new folks, because I didn't have names of any of my 2nd GGF's siblings or in-laws.

      "There is no way to give to honest toil its just reward--its full share of all wealth produced--but by the full application of the single tax. And righteousness and justice require it to be done." --A. Moll, 1897

      by Zwenkau on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 10:16:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry, relatives. (9+ / 0-)

        It's amazing that so much info was there, in any case.

        By the time my ancestors left Germany for the US, I don't think any of them were landowners.  They were almost all "Heuersleute" (farm workers) for at least a few generations previous.  Usually it was their grandparents, g-grandparents, etc who had been at one time the original owners.  Of course, laws prevented the land from being broken up into smaller plots for multiple heirs, so it was always the eldest son, or when no (surviving) sons, the land went to the eldest daughter (her husband taking her - or the farm - name) intact.  That meant naturally that most of the children were left landless, resulting through subsequent generations in a multitude of Heuersleute.  

        Those were my ancestors, poor people who had no chance for a better life in Germany, so came to America.  I can't even imagine what they went through just to get here.

        •  Taking the name of the farm... (7+ / 0-)

          was a practice found in some, generally more northern, parts of Germany.  And it confuses the heck out of novice genealogists to see the family name changing between father and son.  But the Germans are nothing if not thorough in their records.  In one case I researched in one of the Lippe states, the place had a number assigned to it.  All I had to do in scanning the filmed records was to look for every instance of that number being cited, and I knew I had the right family.  {grin}

          "There is no way to give to honest toil its just reward--its full share of all wealth produced--but by the full application of the single tax. And righteousness and justice require it to be done." --A. Moll, 1897

          by Zwenkau on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 10:54:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Translation at the FHL (7+ / 0-)

      Sorry I didn't get to your question first, but I wanted to address the "7 generation" point.  Even with access to records, the Thirty Years War destroyed a lot and then there were other losses along the way.  So getting seven generations back from the emigrants is a pretty good achievement.

      But back to your question.  On the International floor there is usually a German-fluent staff person who can scan your document and give you a quick heads-up as to what's in it and whether there's something in it that you may not have.  But you have to go up to the desk and ask for assistance.

      In my deed records that I found, there were sometimes references to saints' days and such -- of the kind that in England often refer to the payment of peppercorns, etc.  At that point I usually stopped trying to translate.  The other part was the mortgage -- equally devoted to details I didn't really think I needed.  But where a name appears, it's always good to figure out what the role of the person might be, because one never wants to overlook a familial connection if it's there.

      "There is no way to give to honest toil its just reward--its full share of all wealth produced--but by the full application of the single tax. And righteousness and justice require it to be done." --A. Moll, 1897

      by Zwenkau on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 10:45:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hellooooooo. Volunteers!! (7+ / 0-)

    We're approaching critical mass.  To avoid catastrophe (yeah, I'm nothing if not overly-dramatic), we need to have some volunteers

    Current Schedule

    July 19   mayim
    July 26   open for adoption
    Aug 2     open for adoption
    Aug 9     open for adoption
    Aug 16   open for adoption

    Can we get some volunteers to take some of these dates?  Hosting a Friday Open Thread is really easy.  We can walk you through it if you need assistance.


    •  Volunteers (6+ / 0-)

      I can probably take another one soon, based on an idea I have (1) as an extension of my interest in my German paternal line, and (2) as a reaction to the diary before mine, on Missouri in the Civil War.  But I'd prefer to see others step up first, if they will.  Just keep me in mind, and I'll work up a draft in the meantime....

      "There is no way to give to honest toil its just reward--its full share of all wealth produced--but by the full application of the single tax. And righteousness and justice require it to be done." --A. Moll, 1897

      by Zwenkau on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 11:24:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What an wonderfully presented diary, Zwenkau. (6+ / 0-)

    We will definitely look forward to more cookies!

    I don't have any ancestors who didn't speak English except for a few scattered Dutch and French back in the 17th century when they first came to America. Too much that's more recent that interests me to work on. I admire those of you who have learned a language to do such incredible research.

    Still hoping to hit a new courthouse next week. Maybe then I can come up with a diary. When our Fearless Leader calls, I try to answer!

    Inspiration is hard to come by. You have to take it where you find it. --- Bob Dylan.

    by figbash on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 11:59:39 AM PDT

  •  Grandma made cookies so we could enjoy them (6+ / 0-)

    And Grandma knew about that hand-in-the-cookie-jar feeling. Grandma was once a kid, too.

    Some of my discoveries feel like I've raided the cookie jar. I like your description.

    And I've had to be peeled off the ceiling a few times myself. Sometimes it's just an odd unexpected connection. I remember spending a long, hot afternoon in the Franklin County Registry of Deeds office when I learned that my 3rd ggrandparents purchased their farmland from a Revolutionary War officer who, in turn, had purchased it from someone who had purchased it from the regionally famous former slave, Amos Fortune. I disrupted the calm in the office when I voiced my joy. But this was a good thing. Everone there wanted to know what I had discovered.

    In fact, the annual Amos Fortune Form series kick off today in Jaffrey, NH. The lectures are about various topics, the first is about why historic preservation is important. The lectures are free and held in the Jaffrey Meetinghouse, an awesome example of excellent historic preservation. Besides, Amos Fortune's grave is in the burying ground next to the building. So is Willa Cather's grave, an unexpected treat.

    But I digress...

    I was fortunate to have had several earlier generations who documented my German ancestry. They didn't go very far into the cousins and their families, though. I have learned that connectiong the cousins and their families can reveal a lot more history than narrowly focusing on direct ancestors. So many of these families lived and intermarried within their restricted geographies for centuries.

    This is the sort of research that connects unfamiliar names and records with your ancestors. You just found a few cookies this way.

    It sure is fun raiding the cookie jar, isn't it?

    "Never wrestle with a pig: you get dirty and the pig enjoys it"

    by GrumpyOldGeek on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 02:25:08 PM PDT

    •  You said: (5+ / 0-)

      "I have learned that connecting the cousins and their families can reveal a lot more history than narrowly focusing on direct ancestors."

      How true!  And by saying that you've reminded me that the great Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa depicted in "Rashomon" (1950) how the same event can be so differently perceived by different people.  What this means to genealogists is that, to REALLY tell a family's story, one must follow each branch to find the interpretation of an ancestor or event that's been passed down to their younger generations.

      Which reminds me of something else.  A truism I once encountered in a genealogy how-to book noted that stories aren't passed down from generation to generation unless they offer some message or moral or sense of identity.  Because if there's no meaning there, then passing on the story becomes essentially pointless.  And if the story is "pointless," it doesn't get retold.

      So, finding the various versions of a family tale should provide insights as to what's seen as important in that family.  And the variations should hint at how the branches are diverging from the historic baseline.

      "There is no way to give to honest toil its just reward--its full share of all wealth produced--but by the full application of the single tax. And righteousness and justice require it to be done." --A. Moll, 1897

      by Zwenkau on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 03:18:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ah, yes. Those family stories, told and not told. (4+ / 0-)

        It was through those connections among cousins and in-laws that helped me unearth some truths from the distorted stories.

        Some stories are distorted on purpose.

        My father told us, "Grandfather had a half-sister". I found a birth record for his grandfather. I couldn't find a birth record for his so-called half-sister. I knew he had a half-brother, born 7 years after his father's death. I had a copy of the half-brother's probate lawyer's documents that listed the woman as his sister. But I eventually found her marriage record and her birth records.

        She wasn't a half-sister. So I was puzzled by this odd story and the conflict for a long time.

        Just last year, I stumbled upon a newspaper article that explained the whole thing. I found it while researching her ex-husband's family history. That's the connection.

        It turns out that she was probably disowned by other family members after she got caught in bed with another married man by her husband. He dragged her through the mud and made front page news about her adultery conviction and a series of lawsuits for almost three years.

        This wasn't tolerable back in 1894. So this is why she became known as a half-sister.

        I wrote a little about her story here.

        Another story was that we were supposed to be descended from Rebecca Nourse of the Salem Witch Trials tragedy. I couldn't find anything for years. Then I visited a cemetery in Vermont where my father's maternal family is buried. I remembered that my father lived with these grandparents for a while. I noticed that there was a Nourse family plot in one corner of the cemetery. This family was, indeed, descended from the Nourse / Towne family. So I filed that away in a corner of my mind.

        It took me almost ten years to find the connection. It turned out that my father's maternal grandfather had an Aunt Mary Nourse who was the wife of one of the Nourse's in this cemetery. So she wasn't a blood relative, but I'm absolutely certain that this is how this story came to be.

        That's why I spend extra time taking pictures of cemetery markers located near my known family plots. I've found more maiden names this way than I ever imagined I'd find. Those unrecorded common-law marriages can be a challenge.

        It's a good thing that we all seem to enjoy such challenges.

        Learning German?

        Well, I've got a challenge involving an obscure dialect of an Albanian language. My father in law was born in Albania but speaks Greek as do many Albanians. I know some of his cousins who still can speak and understand one of the two major Albanian dialects, but the family tree documentation I have is written in an entirely different dialect. It's kinda strage that they can't seem to be able to make any sense of this at all.

        Fortunately, the folks at the universities in Tirana are more than willing to help out.

        But the smartest thing I've done with my father in law was to take a virtual Google Earth tour of his home town in Albania. He talked about an old castle foundation in town. It was there. He talked about riding a horse out to the old family cemetery. He pointed out the road and the corner where the cemetery was located. So I know where his earliest ancestors and their ancestors are buried. Mind you, he was only nine years old when he left Albania and came to the US.

        "Never wrestle with a pig: you get dirty and the pig enjoys it"

        by GrumpyOldGeek on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 04:55:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Another story... (4+ / 0-)

          I love comes from my father's family -- and it even made it into the newspapers where my Dad's paternal GF lived his life after the Civil War.  The story was that this GGF of mine, who came to America as a boy, was related to the German composer Richard Wagner.  

          But no one could quite say with accuracy how this supposed family tie existed.  The immigrant wife & mother of my GGF had been orphaned as a young child, so the story went, and was sent to live with Wagner's family in Leipzig while he was growing up.  The problem was that no book on Richard Wagner ever mentioned such a girl, much less a relative, living in the household.

          Fortunately, my 2nd GGM had come from the part of the Kingdom of Saxony that was given to Prussia after the Congress of Vienna in 1815.  That means it's not under the Lutheran Church of Saxony, and the Mormons have filmed churchbooks there.  That meant I could research this tale myself.

          Here's the story as I've pieced it together, and it's a tale of mistaken identity.  My 2nd GGM was born in 1810 as the 2nd child of a couple that had married in the town of her birth in 1807.  The father was a corporal in a Saxon infantry company that was housed in the town, and his wife was the daughter of a local coppersmith named Wagner.  

          Five months before my ancestor was born, the first child died of scarlet fever.  Then, from Dec. 1813 to March 1814, an epidemic of typhus hit the town.  In late February my 3rd GGM became a victim, leaving by this time just a 3-1/2 yr. old girl and her father.  By then his unit was garrisoned in Leipzig, and because the father was from near Sangerhausen it seemed the best solution for someone to care for the child was the late mother's elder brother -- a coppersmith living in Leipzig.

          By coincidence, this maternal uncle of the girl had, with his wife, similar given names to the parents of Richard Wagner.  And, of course, the surnames and city of residence were the same.  So how did the confusion arise?

          I think it came from the fact that, of the 13 children of my great-great-grandparents, only three boys survived after 1870.  They would have heard their mother tell stories about her childhood, but she died in 1886 when they were all in their early '40s.  And, boys being boys, they probably hadn't paid all that much attention to the details....  Now, Composer Wagner's fame may not have reached farming communities in central Missouri by that date -- I don't know.  

          But it's conceivable that, by the time they knew of him and had read something of his background, they might have remembered just enough of what their mother had said that they jumped to a wrong conclusion.  At least, that's my story, and I'm stickin' to it!!  And I can tell you that the new version isn't quite as popular with the relatives, as most non-genealogists crave that tie to the famous.

          "There is no way to give to honest toil its just reward--its full share of all wealth produced--but by the full application of the single tax. And righteousness and justice require it to be done." --A. Moll, 1897

          by Zwenkau on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 05:40:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's how it's done, Zwenkau (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            klompendanser, Zwenkau

            I think, in the beginning, a lot of people assume that it's simple to just look things up and all of the answers will be consistent and perfectly correct everywhere. Or they just ask grandma and believe everything she says. When this assumption gets blown away, they might just give up or they might want to dive in and decipher the family history.

            As you say, pointing out that grandma was wrong probably isn't going to be very popular.

            I'm reminded of a friend who is a direct descendent of George Pullman who was the guy who murdered employees when they complained. The infamous Pullman Porter Strike. Their family story is an amazing litany of pure bullshit. It's really that bad. They even insist that Pullman Porter is the name of one of their relatives, not reality at all. The denial is palpable. I have been very careful to stay out of the fray.

            I was shown the family tree. One name on the list is Esterbrook. I casually mentioned that the spelling varied (Estabrook, Easterbrook, etc.) and got a surprisingly nasty response. How the hell did I know how to spell their family name? From a teacher, a church-goer, and an active member of the local community. And a rock-solid Democrat. Who knew?

            It's sometimes a little more than just popularity with the relatives.

            "Never wrestle with a pig: you get dirty and the pig enjoys it"

            by GrumpyOldGeek on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 02:21:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  If the genealogy community... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              GrumpyOldGeek, klompendanser

              awarded Purple Hearts, I'm sure you'd be wearing one.  At least by the time I made my discovery most of those who were heavily invested in The Myth had passed from the scene.

              "There is no way to give to honest toil its just reward--its full share of all wealth produced--but by the full application of the single tax. And righteousness and justice require it to be done." --A. Moll, 1897

              by Zwenkau on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 03:58:14 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks so much for the lovely link to (5+ / 0-)

      The Old Burying Ground.  Love the "my glass is run and so must yours" part. Beautiful headstones! I've never seen any quite like those in the Midwest. I'd love to live in New England.

      Inspiration is hard to come by. You have to take it where you find it. --- Bob Dylan.

      by figbash on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 03:19:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Come for a visit (5+ / 0-)

        Just try to avoid the snow season, the mud season, and the black fly season. The Spring thaw makes for muddy cemeteries and most other places. The black flies (and mosquitoes this year) are especially nasty in late June through July. It varies.

        I went out to get one quick picture of a cemetery marker yesterday and I think I lost a pint of blood to the mosquitoes. And the damn camera battery was dead...

        Seriously, we have the room and the time for such adventures. A visit isn't nearly enough time, though. But you know that.

        I just stumbled into this nice cemetery site when I Googled Amos Fortune Jaffrey. Then I noticed the selection list at the bottom of the screen. And the long list of cemeteries. Holy moley, does this guy have a boatload of pictures of cemetery markers! It's so much fun to know I've visited some of the cemeteries he's documented. I even have pictures of some of the same markers.

        Yeah, the cemeteries in the Midwest sure are farther away than they are in New England. And there just aren't any really old markers in the Midwest. I used to think that the burial plot of the founder of the town where my kids grew up in Illinois was old. About 15 miles up the road from my house in New England I find the founder's gggreat grandparents. Earlier ancestors are found in cemeteries farther East in Massachusetts. It's a whole different thing.

        I am still amazed that I can see and touch the cemetery markers of more than one of my 10th g-grandparents.

        But this is relatively new compared to old European burial sites.

        "Never wrestle with a pig: you get dirty and the pig enjoys it"

        by GrumpyOldGeek on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 05:34:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  research AHA! moments after my own heart... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Zwenkau, vgranucci

    I drive people crazy when I start digging through stuff out of the usual path of records, but it is all worth it when you can show people how a stray reference in an old deed can lead to all sorts of other good things.

    I'm pretty sure that after I die, I will have a few serious "chats" with my ancestors about the puzzles they left me to solve -- lol

    "If you are sure you understand everything that is going on around you, you are hopelessly confused." Walter Mondale

    by klompendanser on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 07:27:02 PM PDT

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