It is difficult for a genealogist to depart from family stories and base research on facts which can be documented. Family legend sometimes can prove incorrect when confronted with documented facts; this can be difficult for family members who “remember” names, dates, places and people they were exposed to as a young child. However, these memories are often much like the ten foot Christmas tree which was really five or the eight pound trout that actually weight in at three pounds. The tree and the trout are fact but the details are at times incorrect. The memories of living family members should not be discounted outright, but treated with the reverence a memory deserves. Still quality genealogy requires documentation. Family legend and documented facts can collide, creating a sometimes painful dilemma for the family historian. Within this website you may find names, dates and places which diverge slightly from your memories, know these facts have been corroborated by at least two sources before they enter the family databases. The change in your family history is not meant to be an affront to your past but a clarification for our future. As research on these lines progress new information is also uncovered, sometimes requiring a retraction of earlier information. Genealogy is a work in progress, little beyond the current generation is absolutely certain. The search for the truth can be further complicated by poor handwriting of county clerks, indifference by the census takers and our own ancestor’s immigrant speech.
It has been a long four months getting the website up and running. I hope everyone enjoys the features and the information on the site. As you may have noticed in the past few weeks family histories and slideshows have been added. It is interesting to see the reaction of family to the website and their responses. As much as I want everybody to be interested in the “data” part of the site it seems everyone just wants to see family photos and read concise summaries of the family histories. In response to your reactions I have tried to provide you with these elements.
The main purpose for this blog is to keep family members abreast of current research news and progress. In the next few weeks I hope to hear back from several Catholic churches with information on the Behen family. A trip is planned to document and photograph tombstones in Litchfield, IL on the Ash family and as the weather warms and the ground dries out I also hope to get to a couple of local cemeteries for some photos of the Lambeth graves.
As you read through these blog entries keep in mind they are an attempt to convey current research on multiple family lines in an informal fashion. Please overlook the occasional lapses in conventional grammar and spelling. Please don’t hesitate in contacting me with corrections, stories or information. You will not be bugging me!