Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Genealogy Nightmare!

My husband and Older Daughter are having a little chuckle at mom's expense. It seems they just showed that credit card commercial where father and son travel to Norway to experience their roots only to discover upon their visit to the hall of records that they were Swedish.

Older Daughter always thinks of me when she sees that commercial. Why? HELLO! I WOULD NEVER MAKE THAT KIND OF MISTAKE! What idiot ad writer wrote that? Why would they think it is funny to spend thousands of dollars and travel to the wrong country?

I've spent the last twenty-three years checking facts, double-checking facts, and I will admit there was one person who led me down the wrong path. You see, I went looking for some church records and when I called the church in this small Ohio town, they said someone else had their records and was busy indexing them. I called this person, and was asked a few questions and this person said they would get back to me.

A couple weeks later I received a nice packet in the mail, outlining my family with the statement that your "Anton Meyer" was the son of so and so. They were from this town in Germany. And so on. Fine. I ordered the church records via a Family History Center. Great, I was able to get a couple more generations back. I was happy with this and shared the information with the cousin who shared the original information with me. We were both happy campers.

About four or five months after the initial contact, I received a note from her and a pile of copies, and oh, incidentally, I gave you the wrong parents on Anton. She then proceeded to give me the correct information and all the siblings I had known about. I wasted all those months of research, and cash for films and copies, and time for entering the wrong information in my database. I think I finally decided it was about six months wasted. And now I had to reorder those films and make more copies.  This was at a time in my life when research dollars were limited.

The up side of this is that I was able to get the correct information and take the family back about two more generations. Since this was my first foray into German records, I felt really pleased with the results of my search.

Since then, unless I personally know the researcher, the thought of asking someone else or paying someone else for information is abhorrent to me. I'd rather find it myself. And I found that I really enjoy the hunt!

So for someone - even in a commercial - to go to the wrong country looking for their ancestry is just a nightmare!


  1. A major nightmare! I can't imagine traveling that far without major documentation & undeniable proof first....

  2. I don't think they realize how insulted I was!