Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Matter of Temporary Insanity

There are times when you just have to sit and shake you head.  There are no words to describe the situation fully.   Today hosted one of those events for me.

I have been searching for one of my ancestral family for years without success.  I’ve looked at my research notes repeatedly hoping that they would offer up a clue or initiate a thought process that I hadn’t explored already.  The result was always the same.  No missed clues, no new ideas, nothing found in new searches.

That was until today.  My Pavlonian trained mind was apparently working with a disconnect because when I looked at the name in my records today, I realized that I’d written down the wrong surname way back when.  The expected name wasn’t there. 

When first entering the data, I had written the surname of one of my Danish ancestors rather than the very similar name that I should have been looking for all of this time. 

insane certificate No matter how many times I’ve looked at the problem, my brain saw the name it expected to see…. the one it was familiar with after years of use.  Not believing I could make this error and not find it for so long, I typed the name without looking at the screen.   Looking up, there it was … the wrong name again! 

I wonder how many of our research brick walls are self-created or at least self-defeating errors like this? 

After a few minutes of head shaking, I started searching again using the correct name and immediately hit pay dirt.  All of that time wasted just because I’m apparently nuts at random intervals.

If you have brickwalls that have stumped you too, take the time to SLOWLY read the data in your records compared to what you’ve added to your database. 

I don’t know whether to hope you have made a similar mistake or not, but just hope that if you have, you quickly find and fix it and are successful in your own ancestral quest.

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2 comments:

Becky Jamison said...

So glad to hear you got it straightened out and had good luck today! A happy ending!

pastprologue said...

Been there, done that! And I shook my head many, many times after realizing I was trying to trace the wrong person for several years, when the right person was staring me in the face. Glad you finally figured it out!