It need hardly be said how important a little more time is to a researcher.  If you're a traveller you have the same concern:  there is never enough time to follow up on that one more thing  --  that wall of paintings in the museum, or a new quaint neighborhood for walking where the buildings are so antique.  Guess what?  We have time!  If there is basic work to do to find out about a branch as yet unexplored, perhaps the year 2012 is the right time to begin that work.  I have a method for starting.  I lay down on the bed and stare at the ceiling and let my mind wander some.  When I do this I do not allow cares to crop up in my thinking.  This is creative time.   You need ideas.  Think about the problem.  Pick a branch you've always really wanted to explore.  Your interest will help to keep you going through both the intial phase of coming up with a research plan and as you follow up on your plan through the new year.  I have a surname picked out for my new year's research.  I had it picked out last year, but I'm afraid difficulties have kept me from the free-thinking moments that would have helped me come up with an initial plan.  That's o.k.  I've got time, again.  Here I am.  I want to know who my great-grandfather Lewis' own great-grandparents were.  This research will take me back to before the first U.S. Census.  Things get tricky when you go back that far.  This is why I have been so particularly bent on western-region research; I have true access here, in California, to the original documents.  The east-coast family research is a stretch for me.  Truly good genealogical work means poking around in original documents and records; physical access is the real key.  Still, while I am not there, where those early records are now kept back east, yet I still need to (at long last) explore the family name that I was born with.  It's not too late.  As I write this, I think of my old fellow researcher Mrs. Anderson, from Oakland, California.  I corresponded with her by letter well before computers and email..  We wrote off and on for many years.  The relationship was carried out entirely in this old-fashioned way.   I was much younger than she was, though when we were writing we did not talk of age.  I only suspected the difference.  One summer about a decade ago she wrote a brief  note stating that the summer was very hot.   It was peculiar for her to not add anything genealogical but to instead focus on how she was feeling.  Not long after that came a letter from one of her grown daughters.  The daughter explained that she had now gone.  She was 96.  I had no idea.  In the old days she would talk about her exploits in genealogy with Glad (short for Gladys), her best genealogical friend.  They were probably related and close in age.  She lost Glad.  And somewhat later, I lost Mrs. Anderson.  By now all my old writing buddies have gone, Mr. Oren Detweiler and Mr. Donald E. Poste among them.  I don't even remember the names of the Kansas correspondents, but I am grateful for the time they took to write good and thoughtful letters containing their memories.   They were the old ones who took the time to shepherd that core of curiosity in me that has made genealogy seem worthwhile to me all these years.  I was a kid then.  I ran marathons, rode in heart-association bike rides, read encyclopedia volumes for fun, and did my genealogy.  I invented a life as a young person partly out of the paper and the finds of genealogy research.  What a lucky person I have been.  My own young person now enjoys knowing her family tree, one which I have been watering and tending all these years . . . . . .  Best Research Wishes for the New Year!!!  Signed me, G. Claire.  ><><><
 


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    Author

    G. Claire is a descendant of Welsh Immigrants who came to California during the time of "the Great Excitement," also known as the Gold Rush.  She is, in addition, a descendant of young Mayflower passenger Mary Allerton and of Thomas Cushman, an Elder of the Plymouth Church.  The author is proud to be descended from Silvanus Brown, a member of that most notorious group of Vermont mobsters known as The Green Mountain boys.

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