Thick as fleas ?!

An old saying, “thick as fleas” and, hopefully, the reader understands I mean no disrespect.  I’m deeply immersed in Ancestry.com climbing the family tree. Friends are few, family is estranged, the computer my companion. The one thing I can leave as a gift to humanity: Document the Old German Baptist Brethren families entwined in the Frantz family tree. I start with a “cousin” and it takes hours to document  all the “leaves” on that branch. It leads to another branch and on-and-on. I knew so many of the individuals when I was researching for Frantz Families–Kith & Kin (published in 1996). Unashamed, I start weeping as I recall my interaction with the person. Yesterday, a dear friend’s family materialized and I “swung” on that branch for a while. In 1989, in Modesto, California, Lowell Beachler opened his home, and his files, to this pledging researcher.  I knew nothing of my ancestry; he knew my grandparents and my aunt and uncle. Lowell generously loaned books, and file folders, full of information that I hauled back to Lancaster, California, and carefully (religiously) copied into a genealogy software program. I had been invited to attend the Old German Baptist Brethren Annual Meeting. About one o’clock, on Saturday afternoon, between lunch and afternoon worship service, throngs of members standing around visiting with one another… Lowell did a sweeping gesture with his hand and arm. “You are related to more than half of these people.” I was introduced to “cousins” who, in turn, shared their research with me. Without exaggeration, for several years, I was flooded with information which I respectfully documented in my computer. I listed every source. (Sadly, “arm-chair” researchers, on Ancestry.com are careless with their documentation.) In those early years, genealogist’ did research “the fashioned way” in libraries, court houses and cemeteries. I did a lot of traveling; I visited in homes of “cousins.” Memories are vivid! Now I’m the “arm-chair” genealogist and I’m approaching this with the same reverence as 1989 to 2004.

3 comments on “Thick as fleas ?!

  1. Karen says:

    You are so right about some of today’s ancestry searchers! A few years back, I got into searching, too. When I happened upon some info that I knew to be incorrect, I got so frustrated that I gave it up. It seemed that what was documented back before the computer searches was mostly reliable. Then folks started posting “anyoldthing” that Grandma or Pa told them without any documentation at all. So, I decided to let my relatives “make up” their own history! Ancestry.com costs too much for me to be getting incorrect info to pass on down to my kids. They can do that themselves if they are interested. I did get enough of what I believe to be true to satisfy my curiousity.

    • Karen, thanks for taking time to comment about my message. I, however, have taken a position to correct all the errors I find. It is tedious–and very frustrating!!! I do not accept information from Ancestry Member Trees. Even after I’ve checked all the “hints,” I do additional searches and usually find more information. I make a point of attempting to have the most “sources” so my “tree” will be at the top of list when someone searches for (example) Lowell Beachler. All my sources are documented. ~~ I don’t mind the expense because an excellent “mind game.”

      • Today, I’ve been obsessive-compulsive; I’ve been on Ancestry for fifteen hours!! Seven AM until ten PM. The only departure was writing the blog message. Food? I’d grab a bite and eat it at my work station. Sometimes I’m “on a roll” and can’t walk away. Because the Old German Baptist Brethren are so intermarried, I frequently ran into a familiar surname. Today, while working with some unfamiliar names, I suddenly found them married to a Frantz woman, or a Studebaker woman. Those were OMG moments and I was swinging from another branch of the tree (lol).

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