Saturday, July 20, 2019

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Ellen's Questions, Part 4

Tonight for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun we're wrapping up the last of the 20 questions we started three weeks ago (although I'm very surprised Randy Seaver did not pick the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing as his theme this week).

Here is your assignment, if you choose to play along (cue the Mission: Impossible! music, please!):

(1) Ellen Thompson-Jennings posted 20 questions on her Hound on the Hunt blog three weeks ago — see 
Even More Questions about Your Ancestors and Maybe a Few about You (posted 27 June). 

(2) We will do these five at a time, with
Questions 16 to 20 tonight (we did
questions 1 through 5 three weeks ago, 6 through 10 two weeks ago, and 11 through 15 last week).

(3) Tell us about it in your own blog post, in a comment on this post, or in a Facebook post.

Okey-dokey, here are my responses.

16.  If you’re into DNA, which would you say you work on more?  Genealogy or DNA?  Or about the same?

Definitely more on genealogy.  Most of the time DNA isn't sufficient to give you a complete answer, so if you don't work on the genealogy, you won't know how all those cousins are connected to you.  And you have to do regular genealogy for all the people who haven't done DNA testing!

17.  Do you think that your genealogy is ever really done?

Oh, heavens, no, not for me.  How could it be done?  You would have to do such exhaustive research on even one line to be able to say authoritatively that there really were no other records available anywhere that could help you learn more information about that family.  And I'm nowhere close to that on any of my lines.  But if someone began genealogy research to answer a specific question and nothing else, then that person could be done when the question was answered.

18.  Did you ever search an ancestor’s name on the Internet and you were surprised at what you found?

I search for ancestor names a lot to see what pops up.  I have found lots of things, but I'm not sure I was surprised.  After all, that's what I was trying to do, right?  But I can't recall any great revelations that blew me away.  On the other hand, I have been surprised to see what's online about myself when I search for my name.

19.   Do you ever feel like your ancestors are nudging you in the right direction in your research?

The only time I've ever had that feeling was when my father, my stepmother, and I went to the cemetery to look for my great-grandmother's grave.  It was a small cemetery, and the three of us spread out in different directions:  I went straight to the back, my father went to the right, and my stepmother went to the left.  Just as I arrived near the back fence, my father called out that we should probably be looking for a flat stone, because my grandfather, who had taken care of his mother's burial, was well known for being cheap and probably would not have paid for a standing stone.  Right after he said that, I looked down, and I was standing right by her stone — which was flat, just as my father had predicted.  I realize that isn't quite "research", but that's the best I have.

20.  If you could give one piece of advice to someone new to genealogy, what would you tell them?

You mean besides, "Prepare to lose all your spare time to this hobby"?  I think it would be to talk to the oldest members of the family as soon as possible and ask as many questions as you can think of; write down everything from your interviews.  Once those family members have died, their memories are gone.  And my second piece of advice is to get as many photographs identified as possible while older family members are alive, because they have the best chance of recognizing who is in those photos.


  1. You have great advice, too, especially for those who start doing genealogy young and have older members of their family.

    1. Thanks! I was lucky that I started young and did have older members of the family to interview.

  2. I love your answer to #20 - so true. I proudly announce to all that I am a total genealogy addict.

    1. It's only fair to let them know up front, right? :)


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