Tuesday, September 5, 2017

One Way to Keep
That Forward Momentum

I recently read a blogger who mentioned that, unlike others who periodically choose a book to read, he usually kept a collection of five or six volumes on his active reading list. He would bounce between books according to mood. Sometimes, it was fiction that took his fancy. Other times, when he wasn't quite up to industrial-strength intellectual pursuits, perhaps he'd turn to an autobiography.

Eventually, he'd finish the entire collection and move on; he didn't find the segmentation of his reading list to be distracting in the least. That way, he matched his reading interest to his current energy level and point of fascination. It kept him reading through his book bucket list, instead of getting stuck at a boring impasse in the middle of his sole selection.

Perhaps it may seem like my blogging style is matching that person's reading style. While I'm grinding away at making genealogical sausage, I'm flitting from one discovery to another. Then the roadblock looms, and I switch research tracks. Again.

I admit it must seem difficult to follow such jagged story lines. But I also realize how tedious it can be to read the blow-by-blow of the research process. Then, too, stuff is popping up while other stories languish: a text from Ireland brings me a photo of that little lost photo album making its way home after eighty years; a cousin re-surfaces after years to connect over DNA testing. While I'm stymied in the research doldrums, refreshing breezes like these are a welcome change.

And so the pattern continued this past weekend as I received a response to a chance message I had sent by Facebook. In the hunch that this social media site is now where genealogical connections are happening, I had sent a message to a fellow Davis researcher whom I hadn't contacted for years. Maybe decades. Having spotted her name in a book on the very area where descendants of my potential Mayflower connection may have settled in Tennessee, I thought I'd chance connecting by Facebook.

Just a few days ago, my hunch was confirmed: she answered my message. Even better, she informed me that she had completed her application for membership in the Mayflower Society, herself—the very goal I was wanting to discuss with her. The good news was: she was accepted into the Society. What's more, she's willing to help me get all my documentation in order, as well.

This is the kind of stuff that generates a genealogical happy dance. We share a common ancestor just four generations removed from me. Bringing the documentation forward from my second great grandfather Thomas D. Davis, who died in 1892, should be rather straightforward. It's all the twists and turns to carry me from his mother, Mayflower descendant Rachel Tilson Davis in Tennessee, back to John Alden and Priscilla Mullins of Plymouth Colony, that I'm concerned about.

There's always been something about working with a friend on a project of interest. Not that I couldn't do the work alone, but the encouragement of someone who has already been down this road is helpful. Not to mention, it's always fun to meet a new cousin—especially someone who understands just what it is about this genealogical research that makes our eyes light up. Meeting up with a cousin like that is a double bonus.

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