Gene Notes

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

Monday, January 18, 2010

True Obsessive Compulsive Family Research Disorder

I'm not complaining. Really. I'm not. I've spent the last 14 days working on some obituaries and marriages over at Old Fulton Postcards aka Fulton History. I started with seven. As you know, once you start transcribing them, you come across things like "She is survived by a sister, Mrs Charles Geiser" or something along those lines. Only she has 4 sisters and you don't have any idea which sister is Mrs. Charles Geiser. The obituary tells you that Mrs. Charles Geiser lives in Whitesboro (New York) but when you look up the 1930 census, you don't find Charles Geiser let alone Mrs. Charles Geiser.

So here I sit, still trying to find a marriage record or an obit for Charles Geiser - or Mrs Charles Geiser.  In the meantime, I've typed four of those seven obituaries, only now I have ten sitting there waiting for my attention. How did that happen? I type two more. An obituary gives me a woman's married name (along with her first name) and I go hunting for her. Since she is a sister of Mrs. Charles Geiser, I think hey, this will help. Only it doesn't. She is still listed as Mrs. Charles Geiser. And because I can't find her on the census, either. By now my pile of obituaries/marriage announcements has grown to twenty five.

At this point I figure I will just type all the obituaries and put them aside to work on descendants later. By this time, I have associated about 120 census records with these families I am working on. I have a stack of printouts with information to verify from Find-A-Grave. I have pages from county histories and biographical dictonaries from related people awaiting my perusal and evaluation. And that pile of obits? I've whittled it down to sixteen. But I know I am not done. I know those obituaries and marriage announcements and census records are out there, I just haven't found the right combination of words to put in the search box to whittle those hits on Fulton History down below 5000.

Hubby tries to drag me away from my research by promising lunch out. I ask him for five more minutes - in reality more like fifteen - and I am still drinking my morning coffee which has long grown cold. Hubby is glaring at me from my office door. Ancestry won't load the page fast enough, my palms are sweaty and I sit there rocking back and forth and ..

Yes, this is how you know I have OCFRD. That and my office chair has my butt so deeply impressed into it that no one can sit there comfortably except me.

Good luck researching!

P.S. My OCFRD paid off. I determined that Mrs. Charles Gaiser (not Geiser) was Ethel Percival who married first Henry Lockwood (not Larkwood as one obit had it.) Her second husband was Charles Gaiser and I actually found his obituary too. I didn't find them together on the 1930 census because they weren't married yet. It only took two weeks! I'm even done sorting out which child belongs to Charles and his first wife and Ethel and her first husband and which belongs to both of them.


  1. Soooo, that's what they are calling it these days - OCFRD! LOL

  2. I am still new to genealogy so I am just learning to look over obits or death certificates from relatives not in my direct line. I found a death certificate for an aunt that died at age two and it had my grandmother's middle name on it. It is the ONLY place I have proof of her middle name (Dad told me what it was but I never found the proof until then.)
    Here is the link to my own blog if you want to check it out as I am pretty new to blogging.

  3. And, every single Wild One is afflicted! Today I get to try to figure out where Mabel Mayerhoff is REALLY buried,

  4. Sheri: I coined the term a couple weeks ago. I think it fits, don't you?

    Alice: Each record can be a great source of information and misinformation. Be careful.

    Carol: We sure are. we have it in spades!

  5. Alice: Your comment inspired my blog for January 21st.

  6. If I'm going to have an OCD I want the FR type! LOL

    I love Tom's site but it can be hard to navigate. Be sure to wade through his FAQ's for tips on how to cut down on the number of hits. I spend a lot of time there looking for my Kelly kin and find it helps to tackle just one paper at a time.

  7. I think you just described my life, not one day in it! I enjoyed this, and I also believe I know the glaring husband...

  8. Hee hee! You've accurately described every Saturday of January at my house...even the sweaty palms and the rocking while waiting for a page to load... ;)


  9. It seems to be a widespread disease! I hope I am never cured!

  10. Hi there ~
    OCFRD - I love it!! I have it!! It goes along with a term I coined...GAAD for genealogical attention deficit disorder. I causes one to GAAD from one record to another :-) Glad I found your blog.

  11. Looks like I have GAAD - or is it GADD, too. Glad you found me and happy hunting.

  12. I am sure there are thousands of us. I don't know what I will be like if I EVER get to Salt Lake City!

  13. Great post! You put it into words exactly, beginning to end. And I'm sad to say I have it. Thanks for sharing and giving me a chuckle today.
    Nancy from My Ancestors and Me at

  14. Thanks Nancy. It seems to be a widespread contagious disease.