When I finally broke down and joined Ancestry.com a few years ago, I used to get so excited when a green leaf would pop up on one of the names I had entered on my tree. I knew it might be something new that I could use to ‘flesh out’ who that person really was, what he or she did, where they lived, what people were in their households, etc. Sometimes, as in the case of the World War I registration cards, I would actually be able to ‘visualize’ that person because of the description that was given as to height, weight, color of hair and color of eyes. Their real signature was on the card, too. Maybe I’m just easily pleased, but I was thrilled with each new find.
I even used to find delight in trying to make sure that the hint was actually about my ancestor or relative, and I could hardly wait to enter another ‘source’ when I was sure of that fact. Having solid, accurate sources is something that I’ve always tried to make sure was on each person’s page. Of course, that hasn’t always happened. Sadly, I’m not perfect - a fact with which I’m finally coming to terms. But I really do try to be accurate and always encourage others to correct me if they see something that's not true.
I had put off joining Ancestry for many years. At first it was because I could find so much on my own in libraries and then later on the numerous free online sites. The USGenWeb was one of my first favorite places to explore. I still try to go back there from time to time. But I finally realized one day that many things that I wanted and needed were already indexed on Ancestry. Why re-invent the wheel? So, I happily joined. Okay, maybe not ‘happily.’ I certainly wasn’t happy with the price. But join I did. That was back in December of 2003. (Hmmm...I guess it’s been a tad more than a 'few' years ago.)
For most of the years that I’ve been a member of Ancestry, I’ve faithfully made sure that I kept up with the ‘hints’ that were posted on my site. Although I’ve been a member for so many years, I don’t have one of those sites that have thousands and thousands of names on it. I only have close to 4,000. That may sound like a big number, but it really isn’t when you realize that I started the tree nine years ago. I think that my tree is not any larger because I find myself obsessing sometimes trying to find out as much as I can about each person whose name I put on the tree. I don’t want to be just a ‘collector of names.’ I want to actually ‘know’ each person, and I try to guarantee that those who are looking at my tree can know them, too.
I guess it’s because Ancestry is growing and adding new information, but somehow I find that I can no longer keep up with those darn leaves! I open the site wanting to do more research on new people, and I find myself entrenched in trying to go through even more leaves every day. I know that I shouldn’t complain. Ancestry is doing its job. But I’m finding more and more often that the ‘hint’ doesn’t really relate to my family member. This bothers me for one main reason: there are a whole bunch of people on Ancestry who will just attach anything that comes up without even checking. And that, of course, spreads false ‘facts.’
I’m so behind on attaching my hints now that I’ve quit trying to keep up. I just do a few every day or so and then try to move my mind along in order to accomplish the new research that I want to do. But that’s really hard for me to do because I think I mentioned that I get obsessive about it, didn’t I?
Okay, I’ll admit it. Those pesky little hints are driving me crazy!
|My Grandfather's WWI Registration card - |
giving a description of a man whom I really didn't know very well.