For my entire life….well, it seems like all my life, but probably just several years…. I’ve been trying to find the father of John M. Smith who died in Russell County, Kentucky in 1835.  I’ve got hints on top of hints, but the name John Smith is so darn common!  One of the hints that I have has lead me to jump back over a generation and now I’m trying to get them to meet in the middle.

Recently, I received a new hint, but to make the connection – or at least convince me not to stop trying to make the connection – I’ve got to follow the fans (friends, acquaintances, neighbors) and every thing I look at makes me say, “Where have I heard THAT name before”?

No matter how often I’ve heard the advice to keep track of these people, I never have taken the advice and now I’m regretting it.

So where to begin? Of course, it will involve using Excel. This morning, I was able to make a worksheet of the marriage records for the cluster of families and I’m including witnesses, bondsmen and pastors, if known. Next, I’m going to work on land records, but the stack is quite tall, involves at least 3 counties, and I feel like I’m about to jump into a very deep pool without any floatation device.  It seems too random and unorganized. There will be WAY more land records than marriage records. I certainly don’t want to have to do this again, so I want to be thorough. But knowing me as well as I do, I will have to FORCE myself not to get side-tracked, because that’s my M.O.  Read a document, think of 5 questions, research one of those, which leads me to more documents…..till suddenly I have no idea what I was working on originally.

Somehow, I will have to come up with a way to show WHICH John Smith or which family group a record belongs to…

Feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. Advice is welcome!