A little about me…
I’m a perfectionist AND a genealogist. I learned very early on that in order for this relationship to proceed smoothly there was going to have to be some give and take. This can be a challenge for those like me; you want everything to fit exactly where it’s supposed to. Sometimes in our research you have to discover a square peg in a round hole and now you have to prove why it really does belong there. It’s even more difficult for African Americans whose proof has been burned or buried and we resort to matching ages with check marks.
I have been researching my family tree since 1992, and like most people I started with my free trial on Ancestry.com, but I was frustrated because I could not find anyone in my family. Both of my grandparents are deceased so I had to rely on family history to get the ball rolling. I happened to find my grandfather’s first cousin’s family in the 1930 census and when I scrolled down I saw my grandfather’s name (spelled incorrectly) and his sisters and brother. In fact, his name was so badly misspelled that I would have never found him doing a regular name or Soundex search. This set the precedent of how I would approach future research. I never take any information for granted and I always triple check every source available to prove my findings.
Since those days I have found many valuable resources other than Ancestry, and I have become very familiar with searching in local repositories and archives. Today, technology is not just for searching records online, but for networking with other genealogists and sharing hints, tips, and successes with each other. This was why I also joined the African-American Genealogical Society of Milwaukee where I created their first website and Facebook page, and the AAGHS to try to expand my network. I have found that the camaraderie with like-minded people has been the most valuable resource of all, and I hope that you will join me on this journey so we can break down brick wall together! That reminds me of an awesome quote I read recently:
“the lost women
I need to know their names
those women I would have walked with,
jauntily the way men go in groups
swinging their arms, and the ones
those sweating women whom I would have joined
After a hard game to chew the fat
what would we have called each other laughing
joking into our beer? where are my gangs,
my teams, my mislaid sisters?
all the women who could have known me,
where in the world are their names?
― Lucille Clifton