Back in March I started a new job. Once a month for half a day I am the genealogy librarian at a public library. I have four 1 hour one-on-one sessions with library patrons who sign up in advance.
So far it has been a wonderful experience really but I think some of these genealogy television programs have given people the impression that a genealogist clicks a few buttons and all your family mysteries can be solved lickety-split. Au contraire mon frère! That is not the case, my brother.
If you are just starting your genealogy research, I can show you tons of things; websites, resources. I can give you pointers on how to read census records, or ship manifests. And I might quickly be able to find your relatives in those kinds of records BUT those shows you see, Genealogy Roadshow, Finding Your Roots, Who Do You Think You Are?, they have lots of lead time and many genealogists at work behind the scenes. Me? I'm just me; learning about your family for the first time.
If you have done in depth research on your own and you can't unpuzzle the mysteries then I probably can't either in a one hour session.
And sadly, some genealogical mysteries will forever remain unsolved.
Say it ain't so, April!
No, it's true!
Records do not extend back to the beginning of man. In fact, most people would be lucky to get through the 1800s. We just weren't that big on record keeping until the mid 1800s. And not all records remain intact. Unbelieveable, I know, but shit disappears. Where are my tax returns from last year...hmm. But I digress.
Some genealogical mysteries are just part of they mysteries of life.