family history, Musings

Research, Brick Walls and Answers from Unexpected Places

Because most of my writing stems from stories or historical times that I’ve discovered  while researching my family tree, I will occasionally come upon a brick wall that seems insurmountable.  No matter how many avenues I exhaust in attempts to find the missing link/s, my ancestor always seems to be hiding just behind a locked door taunting me.

This week, one of my brick walls was torn down with a wrecking ball by a surprising email I received from a distant relative whom I had tried contacting, probably close to three months ago.

So I was BEYOND ecstatic to hear from her.  She confirmed my many assumptions, some of which, I have to say, I was disappointed to find that our ancestor’s life had actually happened the way I had imagined.  My one positive from learning of our ancestor’s multiple hardships was that I felt I had actually “channeled” her while writing her story.  It had come so easy, the logic and reasoning behind even the oddest assumption had all felt so natural and factual and I would like to believe that she actually spoke through me.

I still have so much to learn about this ancestor before I feel that her story can finally be shared.  But I’ve come so far in the almost two years that I’ve spent researching her tragic life.  She’s gone from a misspelled name with a question mark on my family tree to a record that lists every little detail I have managed to unearth.  With help from unexpected people, I hope to have her story complete and ready to share with rest of her descendants, if not the world.

You can never know if you don’t ask, so don’t be afraid to knock on those brick walls, because I guarantee you, there’s probably someone that’s knocking on that same wall right beside you.

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