A Strange Way to Select a Genealogy Research Project

Had a strange Sunday morning courtesy of my family.  

I got a wake up call from one of my adult kids asking me to list my top 12 dead ancestors that I needed  info on.  That made me laugh as I was thinking yesterday I need to move on from my Duer-Hollingsheads who I found a wealth of info for over the summer and now things have dried up.  Like most of the world, I’m over the pandemic and am starting to make plans for when we can travel again. While gardening, I thought I would list relatives I planned on researching by geographic region so that I could identify areas for trips in 2022 (yeah, I’m being overly cautious here.)

Within minutes I emailed my kid a list of 24 ancestor brick walls – 12 on my side and 12 on my husband’s side.  

A few minutes later I got another call that said, “Mom, you have to pair that list down to 12 total!”  Okay, sigh, 6 from each list.  

Since I was already on email I started reading and found I had two Ancestry messages over night and one email message addressed to my website.  Two were regarding Leiningers and one was Harbaugh.  People who discovered books and photos as they were cleaning and looking on Ancestry or my blog, found the named folks on my tree.  They were hoping to give the items a new home. Since I didn’t list one Harbaugh or Leininger on my brick wall list, this was personally hysterical as those two lines always seem to nudge me when I am working on other family.  

Minutes later, my kid brings over the cake pictured above.  On each tombstone is one of the names I had supplied that are a brick wall.  The chocolate pudding cake with cream cheese frosting was delicious.  The “dirt” on top is crushed Nilla wafer cookies dyed with food coloring.  Child had bought the cake mix at the start of the pandemic and said, “Let’s bury this thing and move on.” I agree!

I also got a homemade awesome Ancestor Hunter T-Shirt.  Neither of my kids have interest in genealogy but they are crafty and when the mood strikes, no telling what they’ll come up with.  

The weather was beautiful so we decided we’d have cake and coffee outside.  I was walking down the cobblestone path my husband had installed several years ago and took one step off onto the “grass.”  Unbelievably, my right leg sunk to mid calf.  My kid grabbed me as I sunk, originally thinking I had lost my balance and was about to fall. 

There is a reasonable explanation of why the ground gave way in that spot – we had a heavy rain last night and several years ago, a 200 + year old oak tree had been growing there.  We had to have the tree removed after a third of it blew down in a hurricane. The roots have been decaying for years and we guess, with the heavy rain, the ground just collapsed.  

I’ve never been stuck in quick sand but it was a creepy feeling to all of a sudden just sink into the ground.  I had difficulty pulling my leg back out of the hole.  Don’t know if my ancestors were ticked off or not but it was weird to be holding Daniel Hollingshead’s candy tombstone while I sunk over a foot into the ground. Yes, I know I need to move on from Daniel but I am still searching for his lost Bible so he remains up on the top of my list. 

We settled down to eat a slice of cake and child says, “I had real trouble with one of the tombstones. Catherine Jarvis’s keeps falling over and hitting Wilson Williams.”  Umm, Catherine was Wilson’s daughter-in-law!  They lived near each other in Long Island, however, Wilson’s “stone,” which I have blogged about in the past, is no longer in the cemetery next to his wife, Margaret Hicks.  It was this same child of mine that had discovered that at the Family History Library several years ago.  Of course, with no interest in genealogy, there was no remembrance of the names and the finding. 

If there’s a message in all this I have no idea what it would be.  I re-read my original Wilson and Margaret posts you can find here and here. They are still on my brick wall list as I need further proof of their parents.  Family lore gave me the parents’ names but I have no proof of that.  I’m thinking that’s who I need to research this afternoon, along with Catherine Jarvis.

If I find something wonderful I will definitely share it and use this unique approach again!  Since the world has certainly gone insane a novel way to research just might be what’s needed.  Consuming the name of a dead relative on a candy tombstone is weird but fits right in with the spirit of the month.  Happy Hunting!

Synchronocity and my Roots

It’s been a rainy, windy week in my area with Tropical Storm Cristobal passing off shore.  I spent my free time catching up on two books I’ve always had on my “To Read” list but never got around to checking out – Henry Z. Jones’ Psychic Roots and More Psychic Roots.
If you’ve followed my blog for some time, you know I occasionally write about the unexplainable and downright weird things that happen to me when I am deep into a genealogical research problem.  I get a hunch, am driven to reach out to follow through on that thought and voila, a long lost photo or document or knowledgeable individual miraculously provides me what I am seeking.
Several years ago, one of my blog posts was selected by a major organization to be featured in their newsletter.  One of my dear readers and the editor of the newsletter both suggested I ready the books but I was so involved with other projects, I didn’t have time. I finally made time when I saw that both titles were available through genealogical.com which I subscribed to for 3 months during the pandemic.  
Does reading about coincidences increase them?!  It seemed to work for me this week.  Perhaps it’s like opening a communication link. You have internet access, however, if you don’t go on you’ll never be connected to the wealth of information out there.  That’s my take on how this all works and you’ll see why in a moment.
I really enjoyed reading the events that others experienced, especially when I have met some and others are my followers.  One of my husband’s distant ancestors was also mentioned, Thomas Harbaugh and his wife, Polly.  Thomas’ story always was one of my favorite Harbaugh recollections so I wasn’t surprised that his descendants would have a strange event when they sought information on him.
Just like the author cannot explain his passion for Palatine research, I can’t explain mine for the Harbaughs.  I’m not one, bloodwise.  Some have married into some of my related lines but the connection hasn’t been close.  The Harbaughs’ are my husband’s maternal line.  I was never close to my mother-in-law and his grandfather had passed before I met him.  Why did I take the time to enter every bit of Harbaugh data into our family tree?  Beats me but I was (and am) obsessed.  I would work late into the night entering information and trying to connect all the Harbaughs in the US since the 1947 Cooprider & Cooprider book on Harbaugh History was published.  
I’m a quick reader so I finished both Jones’ books in three days.  Each night, I had a genealogical related dream.  The first night I dreamt that the Gateway Ancestor for the Harbaugh’s was not Yost but Jost and if I looked for records for Jost I would find them.  I told my husband the next morning and he laughed, pointing out in German that was probably correct.  I don’t know German and my husband and I have been a couple since our high school days.  He knows that renown Harbaugh historians have puzzled over the oddness of a Swiss first name of Yost.  Did my husband ever mention that the name wasn’t odd at all in German?  Nope.  Later that day I was reading a different book on genealogical.com and sure enough, it explained German names.  Everyone assumes that the Harbaughs emigrated from Switzerland so no one looks at the surname as being of German origin.  In the German book I looked at later in the day, Harbaugh is recorded as meaning being near a brook (baugh).  I’ve read that before but somehow it never sunk in.  The family lived for a time in Kaiserslautern, in the Palatine region of what is now Germany.  How did I miss the obvious all these years?  How did everyone else researching this family?  I don’t know!  This helpful hint from beyond will be useful going forward.
I’ve been working on finding proof for one of my Gateway ancestors, Daniel Hollingshead for a lineage application I submitted.  He is not listed in any of the typical texts that show emigration so I’m required to document more fully.  He left Saxelby, England for Barbados in the early 1700’s, possibly indentured (according to family tales).  He married in 1710 (have the record), wife, Ann from whom I descended died in 1714 (record)  and he remarried in 1716 (record).  The family relocated to New Jersey via Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) about 1720 (land and tax records).  One of his children from his second marriage even moved back to Barbados with her husband.  The rest of the family remained together in the colonies.  I can prove he left Barbados and lived in what is now the US but I can’t prove how he got to Barbados.  My second night’s dream had me standing in front of a mirror but the reflection was not mine, it was blurred, like a computer screen without my glasses.  A male voice told me to look in the mirror and to look “smaller.”  What the heck did that mean?!  I shared that dream with hubby, too.  He laughed and said he thought it meant the information was in front of me but I wasn’t seeing it all.  Hmm.  We’ll come back to how this played out.
After finishing the second book, the third night I dreamt my deceased maternal aunt was taking me to her new home.  We entered the back door into a kitchen and I saw my grandmother and mother.  Everyone was glad to see me and I was taken to the kitchen counter where a box was being unpacked.  It contained the most beautiful clear glass plates I’ve ever seen.  My aunt asked me to help unwrap them and put them into the cabinet.  I thought we should wash them first but she said they were fine.  The bowls were exquisite and I remarked I wished I could find a set like this (on my side of the universe).  I then said they wouldn’t work for me because I don’t have a wooden table but a glass one where they wouldn’t show up well on it.  When I awoke I instantly knew one of my family members will be dying soon and the “move to a bigger house” was to prepare for their “homecoming.”  I don’t know who that will be but I have a hunch between 3 individuals.  None are ill.  I’m keeping my mouth shut to see how this turns out.  In the meantime, my second dream’s meaning surfaced…
Thursday afternoon I got an idea out of the blue to contact a local woman who does British research.  I searched for her email address, which I know I have as I distinctly remember writing it down a few years ago after she gave a lecture.  I couldn’t find it but I did clean up my office!  I decided that evening to email the former president of my local society who I thought would surely have her email.  I hate asking someone to give me a phone or email address without the individual’s permission so I requested he forward the email I would have sent to her.  Three hours later he responded that he had tried but the email bounced back as undeliverable.  He had used it recently and was surprised.  He gave me her phone number and suggested I call.  It was late in the evening and I told him I would follow up the next day and let him know if we connected.  I then sent the email, which didn’t come back as undelivered.  I decided to give her a day or two to respond before I called (since the weather is inclement and knowing our power would be up and down for the next few days).  Knowing that my power would be out is also weird, as you’ll see in a minute.
While writing the email to her I had rechecked several sources I had used to try to find emigration, census and indentured records online.  Typically, I close out any work I’m doing on the computer when I stop for the day to insure I don’t lose anything.  I thought I had done that but perhaps I hadn’t.  
On Friday morning our doorbell rang and an employee of our power company informed us that we were scheduled to get a new meter installed so he was requesting we turn off all appliances, televisions, computers and the air conditioner while he installs the new device.  I distinctly remember walking into our office and turning off my and my husband’s computers, then turning off the A/C.  
The new meter was installed quickly but I was reading on my Kindle so I had no reason to immediately turn the office computers back on.  Later that afternoon I decided to restart mine but I walked away before it was fully up.  
I can’t recall what the reason was that made me go back to my desktop Friday evening because what happened next totally threw me.  I sat down at my desk and saw that the Google was already up on my right screen.  I thought my husband must have used my system for some quick need since his computer hadn’t been restarted.  I clicked and what was displayed was a page from the National Archives of England (shown at the top of this blog).  I remember thinking that was odd since there is no reason my husband would ever have gone to that site.  Something caught my eye on the bottom right corner so I scrolled down and what did I discover?  A link to Caribbean Connections!  I clicked and discovered that an online lecture will be held on June 19th at 2 PM London time.  I immediately signed up for the class.  

You can see for yourself from the top picture above what I saw when I clicked on my Google browser.  I had to scroll down to see the map on the right (shown directly above).  If not, I would have missed it.  
Even odder, how did that website show on my computer when it had been shut down for the installation of a new meter?  I got the eebie jeebie feeling for sure!  I told my husband that the strangest thing had just happened and asked if he had used my computer.  No, he replied.  I then told him his explanation of my dream was correct.  The information was in front of me but I wasn’t seeing it because I was only seeing a small part of it.  
I can’t wait to attend the lecture and I’m hopeful I will be finding the information I am seeking soon.  I love these strange experiences and hope they keep coming.  I hope you find all that you are seeking, too.