walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Recent Genealogical Activities include: Province Matters

Because so much of the low hanging fruit (er) has been picked off the family tree, I've developed some strategies for what to work on when I'm not sure what I want to work on. Early on in this process, I was very driven by certain goals (what happened to great-uncle Hein's child(ren)? Gramma's siblings and their offspring? Who raised Ellen Marie? Where _is_ my cousin D.? Just how far back can I take some of these lines? Where'd that name Millard come from? Etc.), and succeeded in reaching many of them -- some of the rest are still defeating me. Ever since that dinner with the M.'s, in which I learned about the stalkery goodness that is pipl.com, I will resort to attempting to learn everyone's birthdate who is still alive, if I can't think of anything better to do. Sometimes I'll chase a few generations up an in-law branch (but I'm running a little low on those at this point, too).

Genlias provides an endless opportunity for adding more people in a very placid and relaxing way. Usually. The data quality there is excellent and the connectivity between marriage records, birth and death records is at least possible, altho not always completely filled in. This is unlike Washington State records, where it isn't always even possible, if there wasn't a slot on the form for it. OTOH, Washington State records have facsimile images of a lot of the records, which offers up things like the opportunity to disambiguate by signature, witnesses, etc., and to get a little insight into what was going on by looking at officiant information.

Lacking anything better to focus on, "farming for relatives" often degenerates into looking at how many people there are currently in the tree, rounding that number up, and then trying to dig up enough people to meet that goal. Large agricultural families -- Dutch or otherwise -- are very useful for this, which makes the whole family tree farming seems just that little bit extra wackier.

Last night's exercise was a bit of a bummer, since I ended with some Hoogenbooms who lived what looked like a very horrifying life: one stillbirth or dead-while-very-young baby after another, the parents didn't live very long, just one kid making it to adulthood. I felt so bad about it -- and I knew I had other Hoogenbooms in the tree -- so I figured I'd work my way up the tree and try to find them some extended family. Today, I went up the tree, but I'm not doing great on the extended family: I've got a couple more generations of stillbirths and sole-survivors and I feel bad for these people. Also, I'm starting to get a little suspicious. Not of them, as people, but of where they were in time and place and how that might have doomed them from the start. Were they poor? Bad genetics?

There won't ever be any answers to any of these questions, but I've been pushing further back up the tree in search of better reproductive success and finally found at least one person (a mother, ironically) living into her 90s after this appalling pattern. And I'm also finally finding a relative who got three kids old enough to marry. And with those marriages, these Hoogenbooms that I've been trying to reconnect back to the other Hoogenbooms are marrying Poldervaarts. Which is where I ran across the first batch of Hoogenbooms. I might make that connection yet -- altho I'm also wondering if it is somewhat spurious to see all these people and assume there's any genetic diversity. This whole crowd might have come from a very narrow genetic neck with predictable consequences.

I keep thinking that it might be more fun to just go read Emergency Passport Applications over on ancestry.com (because I think there's enough material there to write a book, a la the books out there that list particularly memorable epitaphs from headstones), but at the same time, whenever I run into a repeat-but-unconnected surname, I remember my grandparents.

See, my grandmother's parents came from South Holland. And my grandfather came from Friesland. They are all Dutch to us, of course, and I've always assumed their isolation within the larger Dutch community in Skagit was a result of their personalities and/or religious choices. But now I'm wondering if what I'm really looking at is what happens when someone marries someone a little too different from Our People. Perhaps province matters. At least, when one of them is Friesland.
Tags: genealogy

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