And maybe these ARE my monkeys?
I am referring to the superpowers some genealogists are accused of having. I’ve been to many genealogy conferences & conventions & I’ve taught several classes on the fundamentals of genealogy, so I hear the chatter among the ladies. I really don’t like teaching classes anymore because when it comes to genealogy, I cheat & I can’t teach my cheat to anyone because it doesn’t make any sense. Yes, there is a cheat for genealogy. But there’s a prerequisite- you have to come a bit unhinged to believe it. SOME genealogists are super good because they are ridiculously intelligent. Not me. In high school when it was time for history I was either jumping over the back fence & ditching class or sitting in the principals office serving in school detention because that’s the subject I chose to serve my time during. Still, I keep up with the best of them, because I cheat. I am an Empath. That simply means I am driven by intuition. I practice listening to it, engaging it, juggling it, turning it off, turning it on, testing it, etc. What others have to spend years learning from books in order to develop a logical conclusion, I learn at the precise moment I need to, without the books. More accurately, I understand the difference that it makes without knowing the facts that were obtained from whatever book it would be in. And the difference is what matters. I don’t have to know why something IS in order to know that it IS. They say that the empath would have known the world was round before it was discovered to be true, & while others were saying it couldn’t possibly be round.
So, empaths, listen up. If you’re not doing your genealogy because you think you aren’t smart, that’s no excuse. You don’t have a lot of use for book smarts when you’re an empath. Book smarts are not infallible, but your intuition should be.
One of the reasons we lose genealogists is sheer frustration. They’re frustrated because they saw someone else make genealogy look easy. This is what I hear:
Why can’t I find any information about this person? Why did I spend an entire week filling up a tree branch that turned out to not even belong to me? I could easily waste my time again, no thank you! Why can’t I get all my DNA matches mapped into my tree? What’s the use of DNA if I cant find where anybody goes! It’s not my fault I can’t I figure out which Daniel belongs to me, there are 6 of them in the same generation! I can’t get anybody to help me! I just don’t understand! I don’t know where to look! Why is my aunt so good at this & I can’t find a single 4th grandparent!? Why when I ask her for help & she goes right to it!! They call those envied genealogists “super genies”.
The super genies are sometimes “empaths”. They feel something different when they’re researching on the right track & likewise on the wrong track. You don’t have to be an empath to be good, but it helps because empath = shortcut. An empath is more sensitive to changes in the immediate environment & becomes adept at identifying the affected properties. Science says the empath has more blood flow in their brains than those who aren’t empaths & that is why they feel things others don’t, another part of the brain is being pressed due to the increased pressure of the blood flow, or something. So, the super genies are cheating, but they can’t help it, we don’t control how our blood moves around or which parts of the brain we awaken (well, maybe we do). Many super genies have no idea what is happening when they do these cool genie tricks so they chalk it up to being psychic or guided by ghosts or angels or other things, some stranger than others. Who cares what it is, as long as it works? Me. Because I am a capitalist of sorts & I want to know what else I can do with this. If I can recognize a shift in energy to correct or prevent a mistake in my family research, why wouldn’t I be able to recognize it in any other setting? Can I win the lottery with it? More on that in a minute, but no, I don’t think so.
So, what’s driving the empath & allowing her give to the scholars a penny for their thoughts? Maybe energy. At least I think that must be what it is. Not the kind of energy that makes you sprint around the block. I actually don’t know what kind it IS, I just know that it IS. You can find a million blogs on the internet about what people say it IS but, for the purpose here, it doesn’t matter. The purpose here is to explain the advantage the empath has over those without the trait as far as genealogy goes so that those without it stop blaming themselves & thinking they just can’t do this research. When the empath runs out of patience, we just follow our gut. Intuition magnified. That’s all it is. If intuition is based on energy as is popular belief, then the empath just has a little extra.
It’s really this simple.
Lots of times when I am researching & adding family members to my tree, I am moving along by doing what everyone else is doing i.e. clicking the leaves that are wiggling, looking at dates, locations, etc that suggest the person belongs to the tree I am about to add them to, making sure the mother wasn’t 9 when the suggested child was born because that’s a blazing smoke signal telling you there’s a problem here. I am using searches & phrases & combing through page after page of records. I get frustrated sometimes. Actually often, lately. The more robust your tree or branch or limb is, the more trouble you’re going to have finding extra information to add to it because all of the easy to find stuff is already attached.
When I am starting to get frustrated, I do the ol stop & breathe thing like the rest of us. Maybe I throw something. Maybe I threaten the dead person. But, if I still have my wits about me, I will stop & consider my current situation. I wonder why am I not just doing this subconsciously as usual & what my problem is? Do I have lots of things running like dishwashers, laundry, fans or TVs or radios? If so, I shut off whichever ones I can. If I have too many lights on, I turn them off. Then I breathe. I don’t meditate or anything like that. I don’t burn any funny things or diffuse any essential oils. Some swear those help but, I don’t need the help so… whatever works for people, I am not judgy about it. For me, I sit back down & take note of what the new energy level is around me. Then I look again at the mess that drove me up the wall 5 minutes prior. If I am looking for a missing family member, I start clicking on my search pages again, and then I will feel it. The energy changes. Not across the room, but right there in my personal space. The change doesn’t have an actual feeling, its not any kind of sense of peace or relaxation or whatever. It’s just a change. You know how you can be sitting in a quiet room & the air conditioner shuts off, then you realize that you didn’t notice that it was on until it shut off & then you were able to hear the owls hooting outside? Well that’s kind of what it is like except you don’t hear anything. You just have that same split second awareness that something shifted & is not the same as it was. Shortly after that happens, I find my huckleberry. And anything else on the web that belongs to him/her. Once in awhile, I think I am satisfied that I found all I am gonna find, yet I still feel that the energy has not returned to its previous state, so, I know I am not done. I eventually get tired & at that point it doesn’t matter if the energy is wack, I am going to bed.
On that note, I will mention here that about 90% of the genealogist admit that they sometimes feel like an ancestor is urging them from beyond the grave to find & tell their story. I know that feeling, too. I don’t think its the same thing I just described. I do not like the dead ancestor idea. My aunt has this happen a lot, she’s a genie too & she is pretty good at finding the dead but she uses her smarts rather than intuition because, well she doesn’t feel very intuitive. It does not creep her out to believe that a dead person is watching her & trying to help her, but it creeps the crap outta me! If I am researching a dead persons records, they better not muck with me. It’s counter productive. I am way too much of a chicken to deal with that. I will wake up the whole house & turn every light on. I might even call the cops & alert the neighbors. And for damn sure, I will not research that person again until I forget about what happened (or what I think happened). And I will forget. And they won’t do it again, IF they even did it in the first place because that is still up in the air as far as I am concerned. I assume they don’t do it again, if they did it, because it did not yield the expected results. I am not Whoopie Goldberg & if it comes to a battle of wills, I am good at those. Especially when I am scared half to death. If I was stranded on a deserted island & a boat showed up with a supposed ghost on it, I would just stay put & learn to skin cute lil squirrels. You ain’t seen stubborn.
To be clear: I do not know if ghosts exist. I do not want to know. Even thinking about it gives me the shits. Well, not really. But, if it did, I probably would be too scared to go to the bathroom by myself. If I did, I would not shut the door. So, its great that it doesn’t really have that effect but, know this, I would rather have the shits than to think I had a ghost. I remember once, when I was a kid, believing in ghosts. I was so terrified one night that I actually believed I saw the lamp moving. The more I stared at it, the more convinced I was. I would have let Freddie Kreuger in if I thought there was half a chance he’d take care of my ghost. I can handle Freddie because I can see him. I can’t see the ghost. I remember that night I called over the neighbor boy who was such a dirty minded thing it made me sick, and I knew he’d likely spread rumors later, because I thought that was better than sitting there alone with a ghost wondering when it was going to mangle me. In most life situations, I can choose what emotion to feel but, not with ghosts. (I think this attitude comes from childhood trauma related to snipe hunting in a graveyard.)
So, now that we’ve got that clear…
I am ok with energy changes. It doesn’t feel the same creepy way. Anytime I am stuck & needing the answer, I use my cheats & start paying attention to the subtle changes. Sometimes, I actually become aware of information that I’ve never learned anywhere before. Such as there being a church that has a graveyard under it, but no records online. I make myself a note to call around until I find out about it, & sure enough, there would be graves under there & somebody has a list of who they belong to. A person who is trying so hard to get their genealogy done but isn’t in touch with their intuition should not beat themselves up for being “too stupid”. It’s got nothing to do with being stupid or smart. I am not very smart. I don’t know much about geography, I always forget where the little states are on the east coast. When dealing with those I just cheat & follow my gut. I wait for a hunch to follow.
Why does it actually matter?
The most recent thing I did to impress myself was about 2 months ago. I had a guy from my Byrd line who lived in Tn, no records of any other travel in his life. Could not find his burial location, but I kept seeing a man with the same name who died in New Orleans. I kept trying to dismiss and bury the record, but it kept coming back to me. Finally, I decided to shut down the logic I was using (because normally that’s what people use) & start over without it. This idea pops into my head… maybe he was visiting somebody. So, I check for all of his kids. Nope, they’re all there in the hometown. Wait a minute… are they? It was Civil War time, so maybe someone shoved off & I had not yet noticed. I wondered if the son would lead me to his dad. Sure enough, one of his sons was in service in New Orleans. So, dad went down there to visit him? Um, do you usually do that? Just take a trip on down to the battlefield & see how Jr is doing? Well, that’s where many genies would have stopped. Have Birth Date, Have Death Date, All done. Not Ts. Ts is too damn nosy. I wanna know why dad went down there. So this crazy idea presents itself to me, that maybe there’s a specific skeleton in somebody’s closet. Long story short, I kept snooping around to prove my crazy idea was true. I ordered the actual military file because my gut said something was in there. What happened was that the son had deserted the confederacy & joined the union so there was some drama there. Then the son fell ill and was in the military hospital from August to November of 1865. (Even though the war was over, the union soldiers in New Orleans were not officially discharged until 1866.) According to the widows pension file, (which I almost didn’t find because it is filed under her first husbands name) the death date is October 18, 1865 said to have occurred in New Orleans. So, the mother of this son who was out there in the hospital all tore up was very vague about how & where her husband died when she filed for his pension from his service in the war of 1812. There is no record of admission in any hospital for the dad, and no death record. Only the widows word. Either the dad went out there to visit his son who was in the hospital & met his own untimely death in a way that did not require him to first enter a hospital & which also didn’t generate a death certificate… or widow is hiding something. She’s totally hiding something. What/Why? I don’t know yet, but I have an idea that it has to do with the difference between being awarded the pension & not & there’s something shady but not tragic. We will eventually see if I am right. I’ve been kinda busy being a mom lately, so, I haven’t continued my pursuit of that end. I wanna know, but, I don’t need to know immediately. My gut feeling suggests that even if I look now, the info isn’t in a place where I can find it yet. So, I trust it & wont waste my time until I think it’s there. When it is, it will come looking for me.
So that’s it. The super genie is cheating, she’s getting a list of questions before the Live debate happens. There are other neat things an empath can do besides rock genealogy. I can tell when someone is lying. I feel their energy change, not the energy in my personal space, theirs. I can tell why they’re lying, the energy is different. I know if its with malicious intent or not. I never chose a bad boyfriend by accident, on purpose is another story. Growing up, I knew things about people because I learned to recognize peoples energy (there’s that word again) & each time I met someone new with a similar energy, my recognition of it became second nature & I forgot I was even doing that. It’s pretty darn cool to play with.