Monday, March 9, 2020

It's Later Than You Think

So, we let those clocks "spring ahead" Saturday night, only to wake up in the grayest hint of light Sunday morning, thinking, "Go back to sleep; it's too early"—and then bolting awake, realizing that I'd have to readjust my estimation of the time versus assessment of sunlight. I had to remind myself: "It's later than you think."

Same thing here, while I'm head-bashing against a genealogical brick wall: it's later than I think. I'm struggling, once again, with an ancestor who refuses to budge and give up his secrets. In the meantime, while I had twelve research goals outlined so nicely on the eve of this new year, back at the end of December, I've let two of those months slip away without gaining the upper hand on those research plans. Both William Alexander Boothe in Virginia and Simon Rinehart in Ohio have managed to evade me, even after a full month's pursuit of each ancestor.

I do have some plans that evolved from last month's research experience. For one thing, learning to pay attention to witnesses as well as executors when they are not obviously the decedent's own son, has become a helpful addition to my research toolbox. While I wish there was a handy way to search online for those named as executors and witnesses, as well as searching for the name of the testator, I won't bemoan that lack.

Instead—and in the background so I don't drag you through this research monotony—I'll set up a database of all my mother-in-law's Gordon and Rinehart ancestors who have left wills in either Perry County, Ohio, or Greene County, Pennsylvania, listing the executor named as well as the witnesses for each decedent's name. Then, I can add any notes about relationships, which hopefully will lead me to some helpful clues in sorting the members of these extended—and multiply-intermarried—families.

While I have that chore progressing in the background, for this new month, I need to move on to another of my Most Wanted ancestors. Since March is Women's History Month, I'd like to move on to my next research challenge among those Most Wanted: a woman in my mother-in-law's tree about whom I know very little.

Like my Boothe and Gordon challenges from the previous months, this woman claims both a maiden and a married name which could be considered quite common, making the task of discovering additional information about her even more challenging. Like the Rinehart puzzle from February with its link to the Gordons, this woman's family traveled to Perry County, Ohio, from Pennsylvania. And, also like the Rineharts, her family's origin was in Germany.

Unlike the others on my Twelve Most Wanted list, for whom I have nearly given up on account of research fatigue, this woman is one of whom I know so little only because there really was no call to pursue her further. But in this Women's History Month, perhaps this is the appropriate time to let her voice be heard among the chorus of ancestors in my mother-in-law's tree.

Tomorrow, we'll begin the process to discover what we can learn about Elizabeth Stine, wife of James Snider.

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