Something That’s Not About Rehab!

It seems as though I’ve done nothing but rehab and physical therapy for months and months. Because, well, I have. Other things are creeping in, though. I spend part of every day down in the library working on the group puzzles (a great alternative to doing them at home with cats scattering pieces willy nilly). I’m getting sick of Halloween themes or landscapes so think I will offer up a few 1000 piece puzzles with cats. I have more than a few on hand.

But mostly I’ve been working on genealogy and getting excited for the first time in a long time. One of my friends here asked me to get some information about her grandfather, who died in 1906 in Wisconsin. She’s done a little work over the years – and is 93 so her personal memory goes back far! – but has done everything manually with scribbled pieces of paper and incomplete files, and without access to some of the many online tools that I use all the time.

It’s refreshing to work in a new-to-me jurisdiction with different laws about record retention and access, with a different history and ethnic groups, and with new names and relationships. I’m building her a tree on Ancestry and having a ball finding census and vital records, immigration and citizenship files, military and pension records, and lots of newspaper articles that the family had never seen. I love using research skills learned as a genealogist and librarian to refine search strategies and branch into new directions that bear fruit.

Genealogy work is never actually finished because there are more generations, more siblings, more DNA matches, more records, more analysis. But I’ve pretty much stopped working on my own family except for a little browsing here and there. It’s not perfect, and there are lines that haven’t been proven to my level of satisfaction. FamilySearch and Ancestry trees for those people have more info and possible ancestors but while they may be correct, they don’t have sources that I can verify myself. And frankly, I don’t really care at this point. I’ve worked on it for over 50 years and have loved the satisfaction of finding what I found. But I can get the same satisfaction helping other people answer questions about their own families.

I’m certainly having fun with the Wisconsin people I’m working on now.

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