Sunday, March 14, 2010

Blindly Following a Ghost Trail

In 1991, I received a large wall pedigree chart from a man who asked for help in his ancestral quest. He hoped I’d be able to help him topple a brick wall in his ancestry because of the extent of my research into my surname.

In subsequent visits to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, I poured through vital and town records hoping to find ‘the’ source that would extend his lineage back in time. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything in any of the records that helped.

Flash forward nineteen years. I opened the chart in the semi-annual ritual established in the first year I’d had it in my possession. As usual, no new information has surfaced other than a photo of his tombstone that has been posted on Find-a-grave and on a family tree in Ancestry.com

There was never any doubt of his existence. The problem was the claims of his lineage.

The review of the current 113 family trees posted for him on Ancestry run true to form. All but a couple of them are wrong. Half boldly claim that his parents were one couple and the other half claim that they were another couple. The six that are correct are in that category because they don’t list his parents.

The trail of ants who have posted the wrong information need to be stopped in their tracks. None have sources. Apparently, none have done any original research. If they had, they would know that their claims were wrong. The town vital records prove that their claims are garbage. The four generations of Mayflower passenger books would puncture the rafts of baloney that they have cast on the waters. Even family history and less documented books would tell them to stop, backup and get their head in the correct orientation.

But alas, the team from Bug’s Life continues to pack their ‘nuggets’ while blindly following the south end of the ant in front of them. Because the nugget makes it an easy load to bear, others following them embrace it with gusto, spreading its false scent in ever widening circles.

A research note with today’s date is entered in my records (yet again), stating that regardless of the ‘new’ family trees being posted about this man, his lineage is still unknown. It will say where to find the photos of his headstone and where to find the records of his Revolutionary War service, but as much as I’d like it to, it won’t say who his parents were, where they lived or paint a lineage tree back to Adam and Eve.

Maybe the information will surface in six months during the next review of this record. I think I want to find his lineage as much as his descendants. I’ve been in the hunt for almost a score of years. Opening or closing the door in this quest would be a welcome event. Maybe, just maybe luck will be with us next time.

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