I am a collector. A collector of records. When I am looking through a book of records, whether it’s deeds, taxes, or vital records, my thought is usually, “As long as I’m here, I might as well collect everything for this surname.” Until the day comes that you really start looking through what you have and you realize that you have more than 1 person with the same name in the same location…again…

I’m pretty much in the same situation as I was with John Smith – yet not surprisingly, I’m not anxious to jump through the same hoops as I did for him. At least, not on the blog. This year has not been an easy one. I’m emotionally and mentally tired and my brain is feeling the brunt of it.

Genealogy has been my escape. I have a great DESIRE to write for the blog, but no motivation. Does that make sense? Instead, I’ve been falling back on collecting records and now I’m starting to analyze what I have and what I should be looking for. Smoke is coming from my Excel file as I enter information for aaallllll the land records I have. Entries…surveys…patents…deeds…but how to assign a record to a specific person? Sound familiar? Different tabs for different people, different counties, tax lists and theories. Color coding to see what I’ve downloaded and what I need to go to the library for; what has been confirmed to a certain individual and what is still in a holding pattern.

And I’m fighting with the information that I’m collecting and THE family history that everyone has in their tree. Because THAT history was published a long time ago, therefore it MUST be right – RIGHT? I just can’t make it work the way “they” say it does.

So, I’ve started organizing (re-organizing?) the records – the INCREDIBLE number of records I’ve collected over the years and the new records I’ve been collecting more recently. Some items were well labeled, and some were not. I keep changing the file system where I have the records stored on my computer to help me make sense of it all. And every time I rearrange something, I discover a pattern that I haven’t noticed before. THAT record can’t go with THAT guy because he was over here in THIS county at that time – or do I have those records matched with the wrong guy? I started making timelines of what I have, but it didn’t take long to realize that those people with the same names – the John’s and the William’s – just aren’t going to cooperate. And as much as I want to put together a nice, organized series for the blog as I’m figuring things out, I remember how long it took me to put together the John Smith series and I don’t think I’m up to it right now.

Writing does help me think things through. So I’m planning to jump back in whenever I feel that I can. For those of you who are wondering, this is for my Stephens line. And there are several of you out there who I’ve emailed with in the past about this line. I would LOVE to hear from you guys as I muddle through my analysis, whether through the comments on the blog or by email or by starting a Facebook group dedicated to this family – I’m open to it all! I need the distraction of my genealogy and I would love to have as many brains as possible working with me!

The person I’m going to start with is my 5th great-grandfather – Welcome Stephens. A nice, unique name – thank you very much! It won’t take long to get into the John’s and the William’s, so maybe this will be a good way to get my toes back into the water of writing. We’ll see!

I’m starting by posting an image of the group sheet that I’ve had for Welcome for quite some time. Future posts will talk about the problems that I see with it and then we’ll see where my search takes me.