Friday, December 17, 2010

Ping-Pong Genealogy

For every genealogist there will come a time when one feels that they have reached the end of their family's trail... or feel like the tree branch they have been climbing has been cut off...or they have smacked their face into the proverbial brick wall. With a surname like JONES this has happened to me multiple times! When this happens, and indeed it will happen, take a deep breath and begin playing what I call "Ping-Pong Genealogy".

The first step is to imagine that the brick wall is actually a table tennis net. You are on one side, and the solution to your brick wall is on the other. Second is to line up all the facts (or assumptions) that you have accumulated up to this point. This may be dates, documents, associated names, maiden names, church membership, social or military records, etc., etc., until you have placed all the pieces on your side of the net. For example, my Griffin Joneses where in Caroline Co., Virginia starting around 1735. They seemed to have dealt with a bunch of people who had distinctive surnames such as Buckner, Thornton, Taliaferro, Roy, McPherson, and many others. Take one surname and serve it over the net to the other side.(a Ping) By this I mean move to the other side of the net historically, geographically, socially, or by documents to a point further back in time. The name Taliaferro spreads dramatically upon the pages of historical documents going all the way back to the 1630s! [Here I started a new notebook on each surname.] Then jump back over the net, a Pong, taking what you have uncovered. Do the same for deeds, wills, court documents, land grants, etc., etc., until you have additional information to add to your family search. Note any connection to your surname. As you bring these pieces together you will find that many brick walls begin to crumble. Ping-Pong anyone?

1 comment:

  1. We are positioning Clooz as the program in which to perform this type of Ping-Pong. All documents, etc., can be processed in Clooz without contaminating the formal family tree file. The unique Composite View provides the capability to examine all of this potential data from many angles, and facilitates decision making concerning a potential ancestor.