Sunday, August 17, 2014

Genealogists Learn Good-Thinking Habits

Doubtless you have heard that we do not use 1/10th of our brain. Then there are opinions about how to enhance memory functions and to prevent some of the old-age functions of senility.  But I have to tell you that tracing my families has really helped my memory. It takes real focus to get into genealogy and there is a driving-force which leads us on in this sort of detective work.  I find myself waking up in the middle of the night asking myself "Where was John Smith in 1850?"  That sort of question is a probe into the inner-sanctum of thoughts. Thoughts which must be satisfied with answers before the brain can catalog the information. That is what causes us to pursue the answer so diligently.  Whether we realize it or not, genealogy is an excellent brain-enhancement tool. The end result is so splendid.  For one thing, it is really handy to recall names and dates during the research process.  Another exercise into the memory is feeding it data.  During the probing through countless resources (every record that we can think of), researchers learn history which is not taught in text books.  The history which is gleaned is the glue to the real guts of family genealogies and produces an awareness of some of the trials and life-decisions which our ancestors suffered as they played their part in historical events.  The result is that we appreciate them more.  For these reasons, it is really important to sit down and read the old documents, such as wills and estates, which were written by our ancestors.  Their words open our minds to a fascinating glimpse of the characters and their times. Sure, you can read history books, about George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.  But what was happening with your families during that era?  The records have answers.  Wills, Estates, Deeds, Tax Digests, pensions, etc. reveal the names of neighbors and friends also involved in events.  The actual images Old Wills and Estates written in the Clerk of the County Courts for the State of Virginia are available on Virginia Pioneers

Need more time to sort things out? A good deal for genealogists needing to read old Virginia Wills and other helpful family data. 6 months subscription to Virginia Pioneers for $54.00. Subscribe to Virginia and view wills and other documents online

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