Most of my blog posts so far have had humor and sarcasm sprinkled in them….some of them are SMOTHERED in it.  Its time for a change… so, this blog post won’t be like my others….I promise.

I have been thinking a lot, lately, about family.  Not necessarily MY family….just “family”.  Everyone has one…even those that are estranged from their family or those that were adopted or those that seem to have “lost everyone”.  Somewhere out there, there is a family for everyone.  “Family” are those people that make you feel whole…people that you would give or do anything to make them happy, healthy, and feeling loved.  To a Genealogist, “family” normally falls into a pedigree chart or GEDCOM file….but that doesn’t mean they are in “your” pedigree chart.  A true genealogist will help anyone search for their family…we just sometimes put more effort into searching for those people we love and care about the most.

I started reflecting on the mountains of papers and computer documents that I have in my “library” at home and its staggering.   Name upon name, image upon image…some in duplicate and even triplicate.  I seem to know each person intimately.  Their dates of birth, marriage, and death pop into my head as I thumb thru my files.  These people have occupied more than just my files and my computer.  They occupy my heart as well.  And I take it personally when I can’t find a piece of them to make their files complete.  Sometimes, I even get  up in the middle of the night and can’t get them out of my mind…so I turn on my laptop and try just one more thing to find them.  They all have become so important to me.

Lately, I have been helping several friends with searching for missing family members.  Not trying to find their 15th great grandmother, or break thru a typical brick wall, but, rather looking for family members who have recently passed away…most within the last 20 or so years.  These people are not the easiest people to find.  In a lot of cases their records have not been microfilmed and put online, or they are still being protected by the county offices to cut down on Identity Theft.  These are the most frustrating for me.  I will spend a hundred hours using Google, Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org, Mocavo, etc., etc., etc., to try and find one little glimmer of finding the “missing person”.  It’s not a matter of proving I can do it, or even for the acknowledgment that I found them, but it’s that I don’t want to let anyone down…especially those that mean so much to me.  When I’m asked to help, I give it 250% of my effort.

Last night was one of those searches.  At one point my computer cried “UNCLE” and froze for 10 minutes…I had 87 search tabs open in 4 browser windows…I didn’t even realize I had that many open.  I’ve searched funeral home websites, death indexes, Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org, bounced into Mocavo, surfed thru GenealogyBank and NewsLibrary for newspaper articles, and I’ve tried every variation of the child’s name, mom’s name, even looked for a common factor among other family members deaths that I could find.  I’ve tried to find a cemetery where multiple family members were buried…a common funeral home the family used…but I’m not sure this one is going to be easily solved.  So why am I getting myself upset over this one?  Why is this search so different for me? Because the friend that requested my help is special.  He holds a very special place in my heart and I’m so afraid of letting him down.  What’s important to him, is important to me.  This is truly the meaning of family.

So the next time you are flipping thru your family files or are stuck on that one piece of the puzzle that you can’t find, think about the person you are searching and the person you are doing the searching for.  These people are a part of your family even if they are not biologically related to you….and they can be just as important deep in your heart.

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