Finding a Buddy
Over a year ago I was contacted by a fellow researcher who was visiting the Family History in Salt Lake City. From what I recall, I believe she found my contact information through the Ancestry.com family trees. She was trying to do find some documents to connect one of her ancestors to one of my ancestors. This was great as a goal of mine is to use the genealogical proof standard to document the families of two generations of my maiden name. While I was able to pull up some citations for her to look at while she was there, and share some documents that I personally had copies of, we both realized very quickly that most of the information for our two ancestors was "say-so". There was very little documentation to tie the two families together.
Growing the Buddy Relationship
Having a genealogy research buddy does not happen overnight. Because of the nature of the families, and the lack of documentation, much time was spent in discussion about the relevancy of records that were found and theorizing the movements based on the historical events of the time period. Other topics of discussion included using name patterns and family clusters to separate and sort confusing families in the Alabama area we were researching in. It was wonderful to be able to bounce ideas off of my buddy, learn what research she had already accomplished, and share some of my past experiences to help her also. We both learned an incredible amount of skills from talking to the other over a period of time.
Compare and Share
During the course of the past year, we have shared files through Evernote and created a Dropbox folder for the both of us to use. This has helped for a couple of reasons: shortening lengthy email discussions describing records and organizing information for better context. After defining the problem, we have also chased down many leads including a phantom Bible record that many have cited on websites but have not actually seen it or a reliable copy. All in all we have developed a mutual admiration for the work that the other does and an understanding about the movements, naming patterns, and interactions of our two ancestral families. While we have not been able to prove any direct relationship, the circumstantial evidence is overwhelming. None of our findings could have been uncovered without the assistance from each other.
Thank you Kay E. for sticking with it for almost a year and for your friendship. Although we may not have proven Andrew Gailey and Martha Isbell as husband and wife, we are much closer. Hopefully in the coming year, we will uncover what we need!