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?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Going with your gut" may have some physiologial basis. A Columbia University resercher has come up with the theory that we have two brains, one in our head and the other in our gut. Further, he comments that the gut brain was the original.

Seems that, in order to survive, primitive organisms, and then later ones, had to have the "smarts" enough to know how to capture food. Think of all the things the gut does? You overeat, it handles it; you undereat, ditto. Bad food - well you know the result of that.

So, our gut may indeed be smarter than our heads when it connects to feelings.

9:47 AM  

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