Monday, August 4, 2008

Why the Filing Doesn't Get Done!

As I have stated before I am a family historian/researcher/idiot-savant!

No really, I can get so focused on genealogy, I forget to do lots of things - housework, cooking, etc.

After the Big Move last October, much of that got put on hold. After all it is pretty hard to check on something when your family history is packed up in boxes in the garage in no particular order.

When we moved into the space-challenged condo last fall, I brought four boxes of so-called "current" files. Those were the items I had worked on last and I had hopes of going through all this stuff and entering the info into my genealogy program, filing, disposing or researching further. The only rub was that I no longer had my big legal size file cabinet, so all my files sat in boxes in the one car garage. I still had the smaller letter size cabinet, but that wasn't going to work. When we moved, the movers said "You don't need to take the files out of that cabinet, we can move it like it is." A few months later, I realized they were wrong. While searching for info on a family member, I realized while I could certainly open that drawer, I sure as heck couldn't close it again. So there it sat until shortly before our second move, when the DH said we will either fix it or pitch it.

If you knew my DH like I do, you would realize he isn't the most mechanical hubby around. This was of course hampered by us both having really handy dads. If something mechanical needed repair, just call a dad. It was nice.

Well, my dad is gone now and his dad is beyond doing repairs like that anymore, so DH took it on and .. he fixed it!

Now, a couple months have passed and we realized that I still needed to replace the original legal cabinet because not everything would fit and I am not throwing all that hard work out!

Cabinet has since been replaced and files shifted and three of those four boxes sorted, filed or dispensed with. I knew this last box would be hard. This is the box that I dumped all the unproven connections.

I came up with a strategy for filing these items so that they weren't lost in the files and so that I could easily put my hands on them when I was ready to work on them. So far that has worked well until last night.

There are certain names that intrigue you. Names that when you see them, you know there is a connection somewhere. One name that gets under my researcher skin is Jabez Percival. I now have five of them in my database. I'm almost ashamed to tell you that this one group of papers sat in a file folder for 12 years before I realized how he connected to my family. And his last residence was in Michigan. And the information was sent to me by someone not related to this person at all.

The point is that last night when I pulled this stack of papers out of the box for filing and saw again the name "Jabez Chapman Percival" that little light bulb in my head went on. One Jabez Percival is my great-great-great-great grandfather; one is my great-great-grandfather's brother; one is this "uncle's" grandson. So instead of putting him in that "Incomplete Percival File" pulled all the census I could on this family, went to the new Family Search Labs site which has some Michigan Birth-Marriage-Death records online and proved him back to a common ancestor. Sometimes it is a good thing when brothers give their sons the same names and the names are then carried down. Mostly it makes for confusing genealogy.

For now, second cousin five times removed Jabez C. Percival sits in the "incomplete" file awaiting scanning of the newspaper photograph and the accompanying articles.

Six more inches of "discoveries" awaits.

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