I got a Second Opinion on my pickup truck. Seems I attended a Sunday Brunch in Atlanta following the Family History Expo, where the owner of Five Points Auto Sales of Decatur GA was also present. As I recounted the dramatic death of my truck for the whole group, he came quietly forward and said, “Would you allow me to look at your truck?”
Second Opinions are always a good idea in my world. So I told him that would be wonderful. And he agreed to pick it up and take it to his shop for his mechanics to diagnose first thing Monday morning.
Would you believe? I had an electrical system that had died, not an engine! So they replaced the catalytic converter, the spark plugs, the wiring, the Rotar, and other elements and valves–put in new headlights, and washed the car.
Still 450,000 miles. Still the same engine my GMC Sierra had in 1999. And it runs with a purrrrrr! So I start home tomorrow. In my own truck that now looks almost new.
In the meantime, my gracious hostess–who invited me to stay with her while the repairs were made–allowed me to spend the days reading the books in her personal genealogy library. Each title carefully selected to enable her to trace her southern ancestors:
Ancestors from Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas. Many titles on the Civil War and the American Revolution. Some titles on slavery and Native American ancestry. She gave me her duplicate books and a stack of photocopies.
We compared her pedigree with those I am currently tracing in the South and discovered one surname that matched exactly. So I could continue my research on that ancestor with little interruption. And two others are collateral surnames or names that I have previously searched. When I get home, I will examine my files for information that can help move her research along.
Where possible, I will pause on the way home to complete searches for ancestors that were part of my original trip plan. For those in the path of Superstorm Sandy, I will await another chance to do field research there–New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Rhode Island. And those in North Carolina and Virginia I will also reschedule.
You see, I am one of the few professional genealogists who still does field research. When I have a particularly difficult genealogy research case, and I cannot solve it at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, I take that case on the road. We visit libraries and archives where the hard-to-find ancestor lived. We walk the cemeteries and drive the lanes and alleys in that neighborhood. We talk to the local people about the research problem. And we often make breakthroughs that would not happen any other way.
Searches at the Family History Library can fill in gaps and allow me to become better prepared for field research–sort 0f like a Second Opinion for ancestors. As I discovered in this incredible private library, deep searching can almost always discover new and startling evidence that was easily glossed over the first or second time through the volume.
Going home with me is a full box of evidence for families on my field research list. And some very warm and wonderful memories of new friends. And my old friend–my GMC Sierra running with new purpose. Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle http://arleneeakle.com
PS I’ll share some of my findings and the books I read over the next few blogs. Stay tuned.
PPS Thanksgiving Dinner is just the place to share new genealogy findings on your common ancestors. And to ask for help or assistance in discovering more. Family members often have latent and hidden interests in ancestors. Share what you know and ask for what you don’t yet have. Break your losing streak!