Going Back to the Start

When I first started with genealogy, I mainly researched my dad’s side of the family.  These ancestors are from the Smoky Mountain region of the United States in eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina (and just a little bit in Virginia).  The families intermarried a lot and it quickly gets difficult to sort everyone out.  Therefore, incorrect and unsourced information for these lines is EVERYWHERE!

Headstone for Julius Dugger, Samuel Dugger, and Hannah Potter.  Photo from FindAGrave and taken by Aleta Stafford - used here with permission.

Headstone for Julius Dugger, Samuel Dugger, and Hannah Potter. Photo from FindAGrave and taken by Aleta Stafford – used here with permission.

Admittedly, when I first started researching, I just copy and pasted information into PAF, started printing reports, and sat back in the glory of having my ancestry go back to the 1700s.  The problem?  None (or very little) of it was sourced.  A lot of it (read: 95%) was incorrect.  In short – it was a mess.

In the last 2 years or so, I’ve been mainly focusing on my other family lines.  In some sense, I think I just needed a break from trying to sort my Smoky Mountain ancestors out.  I craved something different and began focusing on my  Indiana, Washington, Ohio, and New England lines.

Recently, however, I’ve become inspired to tackle my Smoky Mountain ancestors again.  I want to start getting these ancestors organized – sorting out who is who, what documents are available, and knowing where every bit of information comes from.  I want it all sourced and documented.  To tackle this project, I’ve decided to use WikiTree – having a collaborative tool will hopefully attract cousins and others with interests in the area to pitch in.  I can use all the help I can get for sorting and sourcing these ancestors!

So it seems after all these years, I’m going back to the start.

What’s your latest genealogy project?

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10 Responses to Going Back to the Start

  1. My big project right now is going to Mexico in March for the first time to see the town where my ancestors lived for the past 150 years! I CANNOT WAIT!! :D

  2. I did that with most of my tree in the early days. It seems like everyone does. Fortunately, now it’s mostly correctly sourced and I feel better about it. Going back through everything actually helped me find more information as I looked closer at everything. It’s not all bad.

  3. I think everyone goes through the name collector stage when they first begin. When I started correcting it years ago, I did a few sources for lines but didn’t go too far with it. I’m really excited to finally start sourcing these people.

  4. My current project is to reevaluate the records I’ve already collected. I was so excited to collect the records originally that I didn’t think to consider whether or not they’re accurate. The difficult problem is that since all my records are from Mexico I can usually only find one or two sources to verify any one fact. So my main obstacle is proving the relationships with little or no evidence other than similar name pairings and locations. It’s a little frustrating.

  5. I can relate to this Elyse. Essentially, I’m going back to the start. My stuff has been packed up for over 2 years and I am just now trying to unpack and sort it all out.
    It’s sad when I see a birth record for someone but can’t remember what family that person belongs to! Wish I had kept better track of stuff at the start!
    Kenneth Spangler´s last blog post ..So Why Do All This?

  6. Yep sounds familiar.

    My current project is documenting all the decendants of a man who lived in western NY by about 1805 and into 1820s (moved there from where? his wife’s name was?) and as I continue to uncover records, some from dating to the 20th century as people have been working on this line awhile, I am having to unravel stories that keep getting retold and written down again and again, with no proof behind them. I keep getting the records churned up by the hurricane and nothing from the eye itself. (yep, that’s an odd metaphor, but I’m keeping it.)

    Good luck!
    Sara´s last blog post ..DNA tests – Making sense of percentages

  7. Yep, I hear you! I have been doing a lot of sourcing lately for that same reason and it has proved troublesome. I added things without citing and two years later there is no way how or why I know what I thought I knew at the time. I consider it housecleaning! I spend a couple hours a week doing this.
    Stephanie´s last blog post ..Isabel E. Fitzgerald Marchel (1887-1979)

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