When I first decided to start researching my family history in earnest, I was totally under the belief that I wouldn't get very far. My paternal grandparents were immigrants from Sicily, so I didn;t expect to get much on that side.
The only hope I had was on my mother's side. I knew my grandmother was born in 1895 in Colorado. I am still kicking myself for not realizing the significance of this and asking her questions before I lost her. Nevertheless, I set out to see what I could find. The first thing I discovered was that her grandfather, Asahel Haines, (pronounced A-shul) was one of the first settlers of Golden Colorado, and imagine my surprise to discover that his log cabin is preserved in a museum in Arvada!
More self-kicking occurred over this, as I had visited Arvada Colorado with my first husband when our kids were little. What information I could have found then, had I only known. I did visit Golden, and did know that was my grandmother's birthplace, but I could have found out so much more. The museum there even has photos of my family!
I savored this for a while, and then tried for over 2 years to discover the names the parents f Asahel Haines and his wife Abigail Reed. I even had photographs of both sets of their parents, but first names were not included. Eventually I did get the names of Asahel's parents, but for another several years I got no further.
Meanwhile, I started on the Palmer's, as I had managed to find the marriage record for my Great Grandfather, Fred Haines, who married Rose Ella Palmer. This was a surprise because for some reason at the time I had expected ehr to be a Ballenger.
Once I got Rose Ella's father's name, my line just zipped on up, kind of like whisking through the Stargate, all the way to the pilgrims! This line eventually opened up at least eight allied family names going back to the earliest immigrants in Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies. Boy, was I in shock! I NEVER in a million years expected this. I don'r know why, perhaps because of my Sicilian immigrant grandparents, but I just assumed all my life that all of my family were recent arrivals, relatively speaking, perhaps int he 1800's but no earlier.
The next surprise once again goes back to the Haines family. After several years of battling a brick wall, I finally got a breakthrough. It happened by comparing several pieces of data, all of which had some error, either by omission of one small detail, or the misspelling of a name. But by putting them all together, the truth emerged, and was able to be verified by census data, which I had not found before due to another misspelling.
But once I had that link, I had another Stargate moment, this time landing in 1682 New Jersey, with the original influx of the Quakers coming here to escape persecution in England. Wow, another totally stunning discovery!
I now have several dozen seventeenth century ancestors to research, and another 8 or 9 generations in between. And here I thought I wasn't going to get very far.
I do have more brick walls to uncover. I still need the parents of Abigail Reed Haines, plus several other wives of both the Haines and Palmer lines. But the point is that you never know what's going to be uncovered, or when or how. Just keep on trying.
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