Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Picture on the Box

Family time at 25 Vine Street was often spent around a folding card table. Here we played Rook and put together puzzles. Rook could be done over several hours, but putting a puzzle together often took several days to a week. We would leave the card table standing, and would work together as a family or independently, as we left for school or work, putting in a piece here or there until the job was done. Each day you could tell some progress had been made. It was kind of a family team effort. There was the 500 piece, 1000 piece, and the mother of all puzzles, the 5000 piece puzzle. When finished, everyone had a chance to comment, and then back in the box it went. It was almost as much fun taking it apart as putting it together, but much less of a challenge.

We usually started by dumping the whole puzzle in the middle of the card table. You then spread out all the pieces and placed the color surfaces right side up. You then looked for the pieces that had at least one side straight. These pieces you moved to the edge of the table because they were part of the outside rim of the puzzle. Next you looked at the picture on the box lid to identified the main theme. It might be the sea, sky, mountains, windmills, or any number of things that became the picture you were trying to put together. If sky, you then grouped the color themes blue to blue, green to green, orange to orange. Once grouped, you then started with the edge fitting and matching the colors and shapes. This provided a frame in which to work, sky up, field down, trees to the right, etc., etc. After all this was done, you then tried to fit the pieces together. The outside rim was usually the fastest, and the large expanse of sky, was usually the hardest. Little by little the puzzle would come together.

Doing genealogy is much like working a 5000 piece puzzle, especially with a surname like Jones! All the pieces seem mixed up and jumbled together. Having a plan helps. Start with what you know, is like organizing the out side edge of the puzzle. Grouping the colors together is like placing family names, maiden names, church groups or other common facts that you have discovered. Some times you have to look from different angles and there always seems to be a piece missing. Getting other family members involved often helps, but if you have the genealogy virus, others in the family usually do not. Work around the table, taking turns with different facts and family members, You do not have to have all the pieces put together at once, but each piece becomes part of the picture on the box.

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