21 August 2011

Waiting for a Genealogy Miracle...

Sometimes reading a book like The Family Tree Problem Solver: Proven methods... will give me new ideas to break through my brick walls. Sometimes the solutions will come to me while I am taking a genealogy class from an institution of higher learning. Sometimes it requires consulting with someone else who can give the problem their fresh perspective.

If you really want to solve a problem keep that family on your mind all the time. Ideas will come to you. Be willing to try new approaches and go the extra mile. It is okay to switch your focus to another line for awhile, but let your mind wonder back to your brick wall often.

There is a principle in family history work that is not generally taught, but to me it rings the most true. That principle is faith. Faith is believing in something that you can't see, but is still there. I can't see it, but sincerely feel I am going to solve all my "brick walls" someday. Faith takes action. I have to do everything within my power to find my ancestors. Faith takes patience. I have hired a professional, taken a college course on Irish genealogy, watched a few webinars, read a well known book on the subject, and done everything I learned plus some, without being able to go past my Irish 4th-great grandfather, Charles McCormick. Patience requires that I do not give up. It requires that I continue on a path of learning my whole life.

Balance is another important principle of genealogy research that seems to be more assumed than taught. I could drop all my other goals, move to Ireland and spend the rest of my life looking at all the historic records that exist. That is an unreasonable choice for me. Good genealogy research requires balance. After all, Charles McCormick is not the only ancestor who deserves my attention.

Keeping that in mind, I wholeheartedly believe in genealogy miracles. Last Monday, the 15th, one of those miracle happened. Actually, they happen all the time.

Six years ago I found the names of my 3rd-great grandfather, John Philip Ament's, parents. They were on a census record in New York. All I had to do is realize that John Philip went by Philip when he was younger. Some things seem like common sense in retrospect. If all my wisdom and research came at once I'd never be able to process it all. I'm so glad I've learned how to research over several years time. One of the census records gave me the information that the Ament family was from Hesse-Darmstadt, but I never had more than that. I took a few other lines back into Germany after taking a German genealogy course, but somehow I was still missing the key piece of information I needed on the Ament family at that time. On August 15, 2011, I found which town in Hessen, Germany that the Ament family came from. I also got one more generation back. It was actually on an Ancestry.com Member Tree with a citation of a FHL film number of the German church records from which the information came. From looking at additional compiled genealogies alone I was able to take one of the lines, from that point, back to 1525. I'll verify what I can as time allows. Simply having the town and a framework to go by is wonderful.

Here is where the miracle is more apparent. The week before, one of my elderly cousins asked if my research took the Aments back into Germany yet. At that time, I did not know the town. Good timing isn't it? These genealogy miracles just keep coming.


  1. So intriguing. Love stories like this. Have just published Volume Two of my "True Miracles with Genealogy" stories and never tire of reading them.

  2. Thanks for your comment. A fun coincidence is that I found two of John Philip Ament's missing siblings today with the help of a family history missionary. If you click the inspirational link on my blog you can read a few of my favorite miracle experiences.


Thanks for your kind and thoughtful comments.