Sometimes, when we promise ourselves that we'll work on that brick wall ancestor—the one we can't find, no matter how thoroughly we search for details—we can't find answers, no matter how hard we try. Other times? Well, for this final week's attempt in November to organize my McClellan family records, it seems something new pops up every time I take another look.
The remaining few days of this month I had set aside to pursue as many details as I could glean on the McClellans of Florida, especially the siblings of my great-grandfather, Rupert McClellan. My inspiration was the posting on Ancestry of several recently scanned family photographs by a distant DNA cousin. I'm grateful to the one cousin for being willing to publicly share those pictures, and I'm also grateful for my own mother's cousin, who has been willing to fill in the blanks on several family details. Some of these stories you just can't find by reading the newspaper—and they certainly can't be found by sticking strictly to government documents. These are the coveted details that bring our ancestors to life again.
While I was working on this project—and, truth be told, sorting through old genealogy paperwork to clear out space before Thanksgiving—what should pop up to remind me I had more records than I thought, but the notes from yet another distant McClellan cousin?! This was a cousin too distant to meet through a DNA match, but close enough to be on our radar as genealogists. This was a cousin I met face to face—and unexpectedly—when my mother's cousin toured me through the little town where the McClellans settled almost two hundred years ago.
We met—no surprise here—at a local genealogy society's private library and office. It just so happened that among the few members manning the society's office the day I visited was someone who also descended from that same McClellan line. She was able to print up a copy of her family tree information to share with me. I had taken that pages-long record home to peruse in more detail, but after cross-checking the information on the first several pages, I had set the folder aside to work on at a later date.
I guess that "later date" is this week. However, we'll need to pick up on the McClellan discoveries tomorrow, as our family's Thanksgiving celebration yesterday lasted farther into the wee hours of this morning than I had expected. It's a good thing that Thanksgiving holiday custom has morphed into a two-day hiatus from work, with "Black Friday" events replacing the spectacle of weary employees dragging back into work after one day of celebrating. I may not be much on holiday shopping the day after Thanksgiving, but I'm always game to do more genealogy research—after taking enough time for a good night's sleep, that is.