Of course that is an inane title for a genealogy article. I know it and you know it. However, I still have many folks tell me that: “My genealogy is all done.” “My Aunt – Uncle – Cousin has worked on it for years and there is nothing left to find.”
After rolling my eyes and suggesting that their perception of ‘done’ is incorrect, we start to talk about where they should look to find family members in their ancestral tree.
The same thought sometimes enters my own mind in a micro view of a single family in my database. “Ahh, that family is finally complete.” “I don’t have to include them in my research any longer.”
Last night, I happened across the Civil War Pension application of Eunice Holbrook Tirrell, the widow of David Josiah Tirrell. I haven’t worked on this family for several years because all of the research was “done”.
And then I browsed through the names of the children in the application that she listed as still living with her as dependents.
Who was Emma R. Tirrell? A daughter I had missed in my research? Really? Looking at the birth years of the other children in the family revealed a time slot that was indeed ‘empty’. The birthdate listed for Emma by her mother fit exactly into this slot.
Once again, even my own skeptical mind was slapped on the side of the head when the “research for that family is all done” statement was shattered.
Can we ever say that research on a family is done? Possibly – with our own spouse and children but we certainly can’t say it for our ancestral tree in general. It isn’t and it won’t be even after a lifetime of research.
That is what makes the ancestral quest hobby so inviting. There is always something else to do. There are always surprises. There are always genealogy happy dances on the the horizon.