I have had a lot of successes on this journey. I have been able to find documents for my relatives that have helped me put together a story of my family. I have been able to gather photos that have helped me put faces to the names I am researching. Genealogy is like anything else in life, there are highs and lows. There are genealogy successes and well as genealogy disappointments. Most of the books I’ve read never talk about genealogy disappointments, but they are a real part of genealogy. Dealing with genealogy disappointments was never a topic in a workshop or conference that I have attended, but it’s something that I have had to come to terms with during this journey. There have been moments when I have searched every resource available looking for an ancestor’s vital information, but I came up short. I have ancestors that I have been researching since the beginning of this journey and still don’t know any more now than I did seven years ago.
Just a few genealogy disappointments I have had include finding out the local radio station had a fire and lost all their records from the 1940s and 1950s. I have been disappointed to learn that even with my best efforts to research, the research center is closed when I need it to be open. I must admit my disappointment when I write to a relative asking for help finding information, but I never get a response. I include myself in my genealogy disappointments. There are some things I feel like I could have done differently in the beginning of this journey. I was so stubborn and afraid of being disappointed that I didn’t ask for help or even talk about my journey to anyone until recently.
So how have genealogy disappointments affected my research? If records were lost in a fire, then I have to find other ways to research. So I have learned to find new and out of the box research ideas to help find information. When my relatives don’t respond to my correspondence, I contact other relatives. For every one relative that wouldn’t help me with this journey, there have been at least five or more relatives and friends that were more than happy to tell me their stories, share their photos/documents, or help in some kind of way. As for making sure, I don’t get in my own way sometimes, I am learning to talk about my journey more with people. I’m starting to relax and let other people help me more.
Genealogy is not always easy. Records don’t always present themselves in the way I think they should. Theodore Roosevelt said, “nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain and difficulty”. So I am going to continue to work hard on this journey, and let my genealogy disappointments fuel me to research even harder. And this is why my journey continues…