04 November 2013

Motivation Monday - Let's All Go Fishing!!

On more than one occasion I’ve discussed the benefit of ‘starting over.’ It can be something as simple as transcribing a document you’ve had for a long time to completely recreating a genealogical database. I understand the trepidation in doing this: it takes time and energy in large quantity. However, effective problem solving requires perspective and the application of critical thinking skills and, because we work alone more often than not, reviewing information is part of what we must do. This is how we uncover the mistakes we make; yes, we ALL make mistakes.

What’s the payoff? The more critically you review materials, the better you get at it. It’s a skill. A skill that serves us really well as researchers. Rather than having to go back over materials time and time again to gather the tidbits that are *right there*, those clues wave their little hands saying, “Lookit me…lookit me!!” (You didn’t know they had hands, did you?)

So, as I’ve been processing the material I gathered while on my research trip to Ohio, I realized that I can only look at the same stuff for so long before I stop ‘seeing’ what’s there. I’ve been working to analyze a LOT of material, but even switching between photo editing, transcribing and analyzing …well, I was getting tired. I decided a ‘fishing expedition’ was in order to spice things up a bit and to give myself a much needed break.

I started with MDLandRec.net: Maryland land records. I was going to be *good* and only look for my Richards surname going back beyond the generations I *know* are mine to gather evidence to use later when beginning to prove the next generations. And I did, locating a long list of records that I’ll be able to analyze later to determine if any of them are mine. Once I was finished with the Richards surname, I decided I had a few extra minutes and that I’d look for my Penn family as well. The three lines, Richards, Penn and Sargent are intertwined, intergenerational (same first names among multiple generations that overlap one another) and confusing as all get-out. I’m determined to unsnarl them to the best of my ability in the next oh, 50 years or so, heh! Then…uh, what’s THIS?!

The yellow arrow shows what I was looking for; an entry with the Penn surname. That tidbit waving? Yeah, that’s a nugget from my mom’s maternal line, not the paternal ones I’m focusing on. Yep, good old Cornelius Poulson, right there in Frederick County, Maryland. Only trouble is that the Poulsons lived in New Jersey, NOT Maryland. Or, that’s what all the compiled genealogies I’ve read say, and we all know that everything we read is true, right? Wait…what?

This piece of evidence is going into my Evidentia database for when I shift to researching and analyzing that Powelson/Poulson line. In looking with fresh eyes, not only did I see what I was looking for, but I also saw what else was on the page. 

I'd love to hear if you've gone on fishing expeditions or taken a break and then located something that helped to break down a brick wall, or even just knock out a brick. Any other suggestions for ways to more critically analyze research (beyond the GPS)? 

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