Remember how I mentioned finding that one website link—just one—that really made my day? The one about the California Digital Newspaper Collection, which was mentioned on a “GenChat” two weeks ago? Because of that one resource, I’ve found several mentions of Bean family members in and around the Bay area from the late 1800s through the mid 1900s.
Serendipitously, combining that with a useful research resource found online at the San Mateo County Genealogical Society website, and a timely visit to San Jose and Redwood City—the Bean family’s former residences and business locale—I’ve gotten more work cut out for me than I’m able to handle.
I’m writing as fast as my little fingers can carry me.
Oh, and add one more thing: I had the chance to get in on yesterday’s GenChat on researching women ancestors—right after my happy-dancin’ discovery of Leon’s mother’s town of origin in far away Maine.
Talk about a data dump. I’m buried!
Sometimes, a researcher just needs some time to process. Silly me: I had thought to do that this afternoon, taking highlighter in hand, tucking photocopies of my treasures from last weekend’s research trip, and heading to my favorite coffee shop.
Let me tell you: one hour is not enough to put this whirlwind in order.
And I already know I need to go back.
Not that I’m in a hurry or anything, but that next trip is coming up in less than a week.
Maybe I’m not ready for this. Something is telling me to sift through the avalanche first. At least sort through my Flip Pal chip and get a few downloaded records organized. Maybe post the photograph of Leon’s headstone. You know—the simple stuff.
I feel like that.
More than that, remember the Lewis Carroll story, Through the Looking-Glass and the scene of Alice being dragged across the chess board by the Red Queen?
I feel like that.
In the face of all this good fortune, I’m embarrassed to admit it, but yes, I’m complaining. I want my pipeline to keep deliveries at a constant dull roar. Something maintainable. Is that not too much to ask?!
Once again, though, I have to settle myself down and remind myself that, the last time I received a pile of unsorted information, I managed to get through the mess and, in the end, see it as a treasure trove. It took over a year to get through the collection—sorting, scanning, transcribing, reflecting, explaining—but it was possible to go from frenzied start to firm finish.
The blog, itself, became an instrument in the organizational process. That’s what I love about this blogging process: it gives us, as researchers, a place to publicly document what we are finding, as we record our thoughts on the significance of what has been found. And even if it turns out to be ephemera, it has (or will have) some point of use to other researchers, who may then (now or someday) be able to find what we’ve catalogued, thanks to the search engines which connect us with other inquiring researchers—even those whom we may never meet.
So, from here until I cross that finish line on this project, I’ll be laying out what I’ve found, sorting through it, explaining how it connects with the facts I already know, and plugging it into this blog in daily bite-sized pieces.
And packing my bags for the next research journey, which coincides quite nicely with the upcoming GenChat topic: “Research Trips and Travel” on March 22.
Illustration by John Tenniel from Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass; courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain in Australia, the European Union, the United States, and those countries with a copyright term of life of the artist plus seventy years.