history-genealogy site

This is a site where I will discuss my family genealogy research and related history. When a blog deals with a particular family group, I will try to include it in the title so uninterested people can skip it without skimming it. It is my hope to get feedback on research methods, family members and historical context from other historians, genealogists, and researchers. (c) Barbara L. de Mare 2006, 2007

Location: Englewood, New Jersey, United States

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

RUTGERS, MEYER, & Serendipity in Genealogical Research

For the last several days I have been following a thread on the Dutch-Colonies list entitled "Jan Willems Neering" family. At first I deleted the entries, then paid more attention as it seemed the Neerings might be related to the Van Alstynes of Kinderhook. The Van Alstyne conversation eventually petered out, with no help to me, anf the conversation went back to Jan Willemszen Neering and his wife Anna Catherina de Meyer. I had some Meyers and de Meyers in my database, so kept following the thread.

Tonight with the kids gone I finally had a chance to study the Neering thread and somehow got entranced in the de eyers line, so when someone suggested an article in the NYG&B Record from 1878, I printed and read it. The article started with a different Meyer line, but one which I had in my database--one entry only, but the immigrant of the family. Most of the entries had baptismal dayes from the New York Dutch Reformed Church, so I got into entering the information from both sources into my database. Numbering became a problem, as I was getting sofar afield. I had decided to stop without the last generation listed in the article, but then saw it went to a Rutgers, so went with it to see where it would take me. Lo and behold, next thing I knew I was in my direct line with Catherina Meyer and Harmanus Rutgers. I had just entered 2 or 3 more generations in my direct line without even knowing it! Now I had to pay careful attention, as I had to merge the new entries for this pair with the old ones, and go back and renumber all I had done tonight.

The moral of the story: when your heart says to follow a line, and your more rationale side says no, go with your heart. This is especially true for experienced researchers, as with experience you get a feel for names and a gut instinct that a particular line might be related. Your gut is right enough times to make the exercise worthwhile whenever it tells you to keep going on a seemingly wild goose chase.

I haven't even gotten to the de Meyers which were the reason for reading this article in the first place. I wonder what that will yield?

Grandchildren visit

I have been very bad at writing in here lately. My excuse for the past week is that my 4 grandchildren were visiting while my daughter was in Athabasca, Alberta, Canada, taking an ecology class. Very little genealogy was accomplished, but we did visit 6 cemeteries at the request of the kids. They love cemeteries, especially the ones with mud puddles. I also took then to the Bronx Zoo, the Brickmaking Museum in Rockland County, and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. On the Fourth of July we went to Washington's winter headquarters in Morristown, new Jersey, to hear the Declaration of Independence read. Then the middle two went hiking on thwe hiking trails by the Soldier's Huts while I sat in the car with #s 1 & 4 who had fallen asleep. While sitting there I finished my Mayflower book so had to go to the Vistor's Center for another. I got 1776 and a book about George Washington. Another day we hiked at Bear Mountain State Park. The 3 year old loves hiking--or should I say running. After hiking and and down hills all day she is still running at then end, crying she doesn't want to stop. They can definitely outlast me, but I wouldn't admit that to them! The last day they were here we went to Howell Living History Farm near Trenton. I thought it might be a family place, but is much more recent Howells. Now I have to seriously catch up at work and get my genealogy back under motion. i am desperately trying to get some filing done, but of course add to the piles faster than I can empty them!