Saturday, October 4, 2008

where the obsession leads I follow...

... or I suppose anyway. Some of my fellow genealogists even look askance at how far out on the limbs I will go chasing a collateral line to absurd lengths or researching all the bits of a line that is barely connected.

A couple of months ago I got caught up by Alonzo Ulmer, a nephew of my direct line and spent days chasing him across the country. (At least I got an article for our local genealogy society quarterly on "Pajama Genealogy" out of it and as editor I ALWAYS need articles.) If you'd like to see the start of this most recent obsession, the article, with a few added notes, is posted  at:

Alonzo, who seems to have been something of a ne'er do well wanderer, is still nagging me to continue the research even though he is only a first cousin four times removed. Even the costs of his 436 page pension file didn't satisfy him. I've pressed on to his only child, daughter Virginia Opal, as well but she (and probably Alonzo) will come up in another, future, blog.

What concerns me is why do I get so fascinated and enthralled with these peripheral people. Last year, hours  and hours were spent researching the family of Helen Fairchild for example. Okay, Helen was the first wife of my maternal great grandfather, Edward Payson Willson but she died the following year along with their first and thus only child. Certainly it was reasonable to add her parents and perhaps her siblings but I followed ancestry and descent and even the families of her siblings' spouses. To this day I keep an eye out for further bits on her relatives. 

Do others get as intrigued and absorbed by people with little or no significance to their own work?

8 comments:

Randy Seaver said...

Excellent first post...welcome to the Geneablog pond.

To answer your last question: of course we do - inquisitiveness is in our genes!

I hope to read more of your Genealogy Musings.

Cheers -- Randy

Janet Iles said...

I enjoy researching people who are not related to me. I also get fascinated with the search. I am working on a project researching about 22 soldiers who died in the First World War. I am not content to just find the information on the soldier but I have researched each of their families to include at least their grandparents if I can.

Research of collatoral lines sometimes leads to new information on a direct line.

Holly Timm said...

Thanks Randy! At least now I know I am not any more insane than many other genealogy people.

Holly Timm said...

Your soldier research project sounds fascinating ... are they all in one area or from one unit? How did you choose them and more importantly, when and where are the results going to turn up?

Bill West said...

Hi Holly!
I have that same inquisitiveness
about people whose names I run
across when I'm researching my
direct lines, and Googling feeds
that urge. That's how I ran across the David Robbins story while googling "Elingwood"+"Coos County".

But isn't it fascinating follwoing all these side trails?

Holly Timm said...

Definitely fascinating but I often think I have more side trails than main roads !!!

Sandusky Library said...

I feel like I know these dead people that I track down! I definitely
love to follow down the winding trail and learn what I can!

from Dorene in Ohio

Taylorstales-Genealogy said...

There is a reason for all of my binders with different names on them cluttering my "genealogy only" bookcase. I too wander and search and get hooked on names of distant cousins and relatives of relatives...but that is the name of the game....research and discovery! Great post.