Friday, March 11, 2016

Field Notes: On Looking And Seeing

This past weekend saw a flurry of activity in the Cave. Hot on the trail of hunting down my grandmother's marriage information, I allowed myself to get flustered and became so narrowly focused I was not seeing what I needed to.

Has this ever happened to you?

I must confess that I let my frustration guide my bad thinking and I did not take the time to sit back and assess what was going on.

I was seeking her marriage and her death records. I did not have exact dates for either, but I had month and year for her death and a year range for her marriage. Having entered all the information I knew into FamilySearch I just kept hitting a wall. Same with the historical Chicago Tribune archives. I tried the historical Cook County vital records at Genealogy Online and came up empty there too.

What was going on?!?

I jumped over to Chicago Genealogy Facebook group and posted my dilemma.

Within minutes three different people had found exactly what I needed. Right there. In plain sight. So easy to find if it were a snake it would have bit me.

At first, embarrassed at my clear lack of search skills, I then realized what I had done.

In my haste I had entered only her maiden name information! No wonder I couldn't find anything!

Do I feel stupid. You bet.

Will I make this mistake again. I seriously doubt it.

The reason I am sharing this embarrassing tale with you today is to remind you, me, all of us, not to let emotions get in the way of clear headed, fact based research.

I was looking. Looking hard, but I wasn't seeing the one bit of information I was missing that would have gotten me my answers sans frustration.

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