For over a year now, I have not done much research on my family history. The reason is simple. With three little ones, time has been scarce. I’ve barely had time for myself, my regular blog, much less genealogy research.
Researching for Others
Oh, there have been moments that I’ve done some research. Usually, when I do research, it has been in helping out my sister’s mother-in-law, Jeannine. When I started working with Jeannine over eight years ago, she did not know much about her family history. She knew her parents’ information, a few aunts and uncles names, and a couple of grandparent names. That was it. She never learned about her family history growing up.
So, in order to help her out and, ultimately, my niece and nephew, I volunteered to research her family tree. I had great fun starting from scratch. Unlike my family where people had been working on our tree for generations, I started with the bare minimum on Jeannine’s tree. It was a thrill to find out as much information as I did, and even discovered that she was related to Daniel Boone (her line descends from his sister). (If you are reading this and would like someone to work on your tree for you, I might be open to the idea! Just email me or leave a message below.)
And, while I still enjoy going back to her tree to dig some more, I do miss researching my family line. The problem I have in researching my family tree is focus. I have lots of branches I can go down, many I’ve dug through before. Which line should I focus on this week?
In the last week, I put a lot of work into my DeWitt line. This line originated with Judith Lloyd DeWitt (1816-1891) who married Simeon Nathaniel Shattuck (1810-1879) on 4 November 1834 in Switzerland County, Indiana. I struggled to find much more than I had going back. I dug online with little success. I did make one huge correction on this tree though.
Judith’s father was William DeWitt (1763-1838). He was a soldier in the Revolutionary War (toward the end when he was only 17) who lived in Maryland and Pennsylvania before settling in Indiana. I had information from another family tree that his father was Peter DeWitt and his mother was Mary Voorjes. In my research this week, though, I found out that his parent information was wrong! I found his birth records from the Maryland Births and Christening Index. It turns out that his mother’s name was not Mary. It was Sarah. I made the correction, but can’t find out much more information than that (at least nothing I can verify).
One thing I like to do with my family tree is to go down as well as up. I want to know who my cousins are as well as my ancestors. Sometimes that provides the most entertaining information of all.
In the past week, I discovered one cousin who changed her age. At least on paper. In the 1900 Census, she showed up as being born in Jun 1898. Naturally, she was living with her parents and lived with them in 1910, where she was listed as being 12 years old. Then, in 1920, a married woman now, she was listed as 19. I figured that a mistake was made on the Census taker’s part, and shrugged it off. It wasn’t until I found her grave and death certificate that I realized it wasn’t a census mistake. Nope, her birth was now listed as June 1901. This woman changed her age. I wish I could do that!
I’m still on the hunt. I’m finishing my research going down the DeWitt line as far as I can go and will soon start on the Shattuck family. That family has been well-researched by others. I’m most interested in looking for information on the women, my grandmothers, where the research is more scarce. Happy Hunting for me!