My two year old likes to have quiet one-on-one time just before he sleeps. He loves to be rocked in the big, comfy chair in his room while being sung to or read to. Happily, he’s easy going about who snuggles with him; anyone in our family will do.
Recently I was the one snuggling him before a nap. Instead of a book or a song he want to look at a “magzine”. He has a collection of old National Geographic Kids magazines that he is loving right into tatters.
He hopped down, picked one up and walked over to me. I reached for him to scoop him back up onto my lap but he resisted. He handed me the magazine and said, “all of dem”.
He picked up every last magazine from his floor – housekeeping is not my forte 😉 – and handed them to me one at a time. Once he had every last one safely in my hands, he climbed up in my lap. We looked through one or two before I put him down for nap time.
As we flipped through the pages, I couldn’t help but think of genealogy. His persistence in gathering every last magazine is exactly the same type of persistence I try to have in my research, gathering every last record, photo, article, story, and document that I can find.
When we had finished looking at our last magazine, I happened to look down to the left of the chair near the wall. There were two magazines he had missed. He couldn’t see them, didn’t know to look there.
Even though he thought he had gotten every magazine, he had in fact missed two. One of them was the copy that featured ‘Toy Story 3’, one of his favorites.
Again, I thought of research. Even with my best efforts, there are records I don’t know to look for. Collections that exist that I have never heard of. Documents that would make my research so much more rich and detailed. Records that may turn out to contain my favorite details – my ‘Toy Story 3’ facts.
And so on that day, just before nap time, my delightful boy reminded me of two important truths. When researching, gather every last record you can. And, don’t just look for the records you know about, learn about the place and time, constantly seeking to learn about collections and record types so that you don’t overlook documents that could tell you more. Documents that just may bring an ancestor to life.
Persistently gather every last one. Leave nothing out.