During this very second, as I lounge at my computer clicking through genealogical websites, yawning and snacking and yawning again; a cousin and co-researcher is trekking two countries for me, tirelessly digging for ancestral finds.
Well...I guess not just for me...but also for him too.
It really is embarrassing and quite pathetic when you think about it. My unflagging trooper and fourth cousin is hiking genealogical trails (well, not really hiking), traveling from courthouse to courthouse, state to state, country to country, desperately rummaging the dusty dungeons of county and state archives while I sit in my plumped-up chair, zipping him e-mails of "Oh, hey...while you're there...can you try to find?..."
And, I am hopelessly ashamed to say he quickly responds with a "Sure, no problem...I can look for that."
My traveling fourth cousin has roomed in Canadian hotels without wifi and cell phone coverage, wrangled with the French language, and fought a downpour in Michigan, all for the purpose of finding the hidden keys that could unlock the heavy cement door to our brick wall.
Hearing reports of his daily trials, disappointments and bitter-few triumphs, I send him cute little encouragements from the sidelines like: "Hang in there! You can make this! I'm proud of you!"
And then I yawn once more, click off my computer and crawl into my cozy bed with a glass of wine and a good book.
Oh, and then there is my other co-researcher and newly discovered cousin. My contact with him has unfolded delightful insights into our shared lineage. His wisdom, both of the geography and political history of our ancestor's state, has opened aspects of my family tree I would have never known.
Ancestors and research I had tucked away in files are now viewed with new perspectives, delivered as a result of the brilliance of my cousin.
Both of my co-researchers are generous, kind and unselfish and our on-line contacts have been invaluable. Sharing documents back and forth, hearing another angle I had not thought of before and discovering my previous research through a second set of eyes, has bridged doorways I might have never crossed.
For this I feel blessed.
Genealogy, especially done by way of the Internet, can be an isolating hobby. And yet, it should never be that way. Pause for a moment to consider that for every ancestor you are researching, at least five others are doing the same for the exact ancestor.
You are not alone. Combining efforts will only produce better results: two minds are better than one and four eyes are better than two.
So, I am taking up my blog space on this heat-sizzlin' summer day to salute my dear co-researchers and cousins: your vigorous, unrelenting search for answers have lifted my spirits and kept me on track.
And, oh yea...forth cousin in your lonely hotel room in Michigan: Do you mind looking for those extra death certificates while you are there?
Keep searching for answers,