Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sidelines and Surnames

As I've mentioned, my primary interest is my paternal line of Dillmans who lived in Crawford County, Indiana for a long while between 1810 or so and 1950-ish.  Some distant cousins may still live there, I have not yet reached the point where I'm able to keep up with all of the living relations.  However, like everyone else, I have other lines of interest, many in places other than where my main line lived. 

For instance, my maternal line is Williams, based out of various parts of Louisiana including East Feliciana Parish.  This line is giving me some trouble, as some of those Williams ancestors liked to move around a lot without leaving much paper trail to track them down.  Mostly this was economically driven, a need to find employment leading them to distant cities.  Compounding my difficulties, these folks were so busy trying to make a living that they really didn't put any focus on family history, further reducing any trails they might have left.  Other Louisiana surnames I'm researching are McMurry, Dark, Gaar, Sandel, McQueen, Booker and Higginbotham, mostly from the Winn Parish area around Winfield and Sikes.  The McMurry line actually leads to Arkansas, where it brick walls pretty quickly.

As I've hit these brick walls, and gradually added to what I know about my active lines, I have found time to research my spouse's lines as well.  That way I can pass on to my children both sides of their ancestry. Her lines also consist of people too busy living and unconcerned with the past to keep many detailed records.  Most of her living ancestors are not very interested in family history at all, but will assist by answering questions when I ask.  As they get older, it's sometimes interesting for them to think back over their lives to remember places they lived and worked, people they knew and relatives who have died.  I will be discussing those lines in future posts.

I've found it helpful on both sides to utilize a 50 Questions quiz about personal history that each person can answer at their leisure and as they are willing.  Some of the questions are about ancestors and relatives, while others are about lifestyles in the past, and personal experiences.  I strongly recommend you develop or find one of these and use it to interview relatives at your earliest opportunity.  You never know when something will happen that will deprive you of the opportunity to interview someone forever!

On a side note, as I've been getting this blog up and running I'm finding a lot of things I would like to implement, but there are so many it will take some time to get it all done.  Please let me know what you would like to see added so I know what to work on first!  And if you're using a feed reader, please check out the Subscribe button on the right.