*Pinning this right at the top because my site is getting more views from strangers lately. Probably because I’ve been busier than usual in genealogy. Thank you for reading!
The quest to find every. single.living.relative. That’s impossible. Why would I even wanna attempt that? There will be THOUSANDS of people! I don’t know the reason for it, or what will come of it, but I figure I gotta start somewhere. I won’t find them all. I will, however, count on the guidance of powers that be to take me to all the right ones in the right order for as many as I do find, and I will count on those powers that be to hand this task to someone else when my work is as done as I am gonna get it.
I do not know if this idea was mine & mine alone, or if I was manipulated into it by the aforementioned powers that be. I am starting to sense a conspiracy, though, because I am extremely dedicated to the cause. It just seemed like the logical thing to do at the time that I decided to do it. Now, I am not sure sure logical is the word I would use. You see what happened was… well… I will try to explain it. You tell me if it’s logic or some sort of possession by weird things…
First, I need lots of personal space these days. And I need to be in that space without getting into too much trouble. Believe me, if you want personal space, tell your loved ones you’re going to go work on your genealogy, they’ll want no part of that. Hobbies are fantastic & I have many hobbies but some of them allow me to have more personal space than others. Genealogy is one such hobby. My others cause me to be in shared space (and that’s fine, I love people, most of the time). That said, in my first 20 years I did all the things I care to do as far as making a spectacle of myself, and in my last 20 years I did all the things I care to do as far as proving that being a spectacle isn’t ALL that I am ever gonna be good at, & now there isn’t much left that I wanna do. Genealogy is a thing I have left. And this is not just because I am getting old, necessarily. I mean, maybe a little, but I am not that old. I will spend my next 20 years doing things that help my kids make spectacles of themselves & if you follow me on Twitter or IG you will see that even though it looks on this blog like I spend all my time on my butt at this desk, I do plenty else & I ain’t ready for the rockin’ chair yet. So, lets ditch the image I KNOW you have of me sitting here in a moo moo with my hair all pinned back & my teeth in a cup with nothing better to do than chase people down & force them to talk to me. I am not there yet! I will let ya know when I am, I can’t wait!
(And IF I have a 20 more years beyond this 20… well, then I will just run naked down random docks & jump into lakes like on that meme that’s going around the twitters & facebooks. I recommend that y’all do the same thing. Mostly so I am not the only ol lady making a spectacle of myself.)
So, here’s how I wound up, sans moo moo, on this endless quest…
About a year ago I got a bit bored with genealogy. I was tired of logging in to Ancestry & wandering aimlessly around, following hints to discover random bits of information. I know that family history is important, so I somehow got the idea that what I needed was to log in with a purpose & instead of doing little bits for each family line here & there, I should focus on ONE & thoroughly
investigate research their story from as far BACK as I could to as far forward as I can. OK then, so I had to choose which one to start with. I chose my Ingersoll family. I am not sure why that line. It just seemed like the one that said, “Pick ME, choose ME!” As I began my dedicated research, I found an old book from 1925 that was written about their lineage, & it had so much information about my direct AND extended lines. But it ends in 1925. After that, where’d they all go? That’s what I was gonna find out. And once I did, I would write a new book to accompany that old one. So, that rational intention was where this all started.
Now, I am not the direct child of an Ingersoll, but I have many generations of Ingersoll grandfathers right until my 4th great grandmother who was an Ingersoll that married an Alyea, so my interest is warranted. They make up a good chunk of who I am. In all of my paternal line, Ingersoll is the name that dominates except for the 3 generations above me, so I assume that is how I justify starting with these guys. Other than that, I do not know what they did to deserve this. Ask those higher powers if they’ve got anything to do with it.
The first batch of Ingersoll’s I logged were British Loyalists that went into Canada after the Revolutionary War. They totally rocked that trek & got a town named after them. After learning so many cool things about them, I wanted to know if any living descendants were still living IN the town named Ingersoll. To find that out, I had research them towards the present day then internet stalk the living ones to find out where they are at & obtain contact info. The ones I found were so very nice, & all in Canada but none were known to be still in the town. Some didn’t even know that town WAS named after our line of Ingersoll’s. So, then I was able to share the paper trail and story with them & that was cool. Also, one of them is quite famous. And hot. He’s very hot. And nice. Nice & hot. And my son looks like him. Would I find more that looked like that? Moving on now…
I enjoyed finding that limb of my kin so much that I decided to go down all the branches & limbs of the Ingersoll family, research every single cousin & metaphorically drag them from the grave & bring them to their present generation of offspring & look at how far they’ve come & what caused them to land right where they are now. Well then, once I knew where they were, what was I supposed to do with them? Meet them! See them! At least, find them on facebook. Why not? They could tell me more stories about my ancestors & make my book 10x better. And, why only my Ingersoll line? Why not any & all of my relatives? Why not be open to meet with all of the ones in my vicinity? Hell, I might as well. A juicy family story IS a juicy family story no matter which one it comes from.
Knowing this is probably something most people wouldn’t try to do, I decided that was all the more reason to go ahead & let it be my default intention when logging into Ancestry. It is my own cause, my own quest. And now my genealogy research has direction. Structure, if you will. My primary goal is to update the 1925 book, but getting distracted is a thing I am good for, so let’s just do all of the things along the way. It is better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring, right?
I totally recommend this “approach” to any genealogist looking to add a lil extra to their research, descendants for centuries will be grateful you did more than just enter their ancestors vital stats & use their graves as their profile picture. I’ve contacted about a dozen relatives so far & I’ve MET one in person just because he lives in a place I go often. I wish I could devote much more time to this because I love doing it so much & I wish I could travel everywhere that they are. I love learning about my newly discovered family members: which traits they have, how they talk, how they make a living, learning their skills, talents & hobbies. Hearing whatever stories they have been told about family members who have passed on; legacies, accomplishments, trials they experienced. Then what? I don’t know, actually. I didn’t feel like anyone was missing from my life when I got the idea to do genealogy this way so I am not sure what to do after that. There is nothing I NEED from these strangers. There is no ulterior motive. I didn’t grow up having family around me, so I wouldn’t know what to do as far as acting like family so they don’t have to worry about that. I don’t expect them to do anything different. It is a simple thing, really. It doesn’t need a then what. Maybe then we send each other holiday cards? Maybe then we add each other on social medias? Maybe then we block each other from all medias? We’re gonna find out then what together. Better than sitting here, in my personal space, twiddling my thumbs.
I will blog some of my experiences here. Not everyone I find will be met in person, and not every one of them would like to be talked about in a public blog. But, you will certainly hear about the ones that don’t mind. I will tell you my favorite things about them. I will tell you if I recognized any obvious family traits. I will tell you what getting to know them has added to my perception of my heritage & if it’s OK with said person, I will share any stories they tell me.
I hope that keeping my blog open to public influences someone else to add another layer to their research. By seeing all of my awkward moments & me telling readers how I could have done something better (because living people are so much touchier than dead ones) and how I might totally screw something up then live to tell about it, someone might feel like they too could survive their own awkward moments. I say lots of dumb things. I kick myself every time I walk away after I’ve made my first impression. I am not phased by it for any longer than 10 seconds. I am not afraid my relative won’t like me. I don’t need them to. And, I am not afraid that I won’t like them. I do not care what political party they belong to. I do not care what religion they are. I only care that we can communicate about the one thing we can’t change about each other: our shared family history. Well, I mean, I can change that… like, I can accuse them of being the result of illegitimate intimacy & therefore possibly NOT my relative but, they’d have to screw up pretty bad for me to go there.