A newbie genealogist can made so many wrong asumptions. Many get hung up if the ancestor's name is mispelled or the Census shows them by his or her middle name. What about religion? YES, "OH they can't be Quakers" I said. We don't have any Quakers in our family. WRONG...sure enough I was soon to learn we had a parcel!!! Everyone has some idea their ancestors were 1) no good,2) very famous, 3) married to an Indian ( that's cool these days) or some other story that's called "family lore". After doing genealogy for years you learn YES we all have an ancestor who is a scoundrel ,YES, we have a few we would love to have known, and thanks to shows like "Who do you think you are?" we might have mixed racial lines, or some other surprise in store to be discovered. I started collecting stories on some of the more interesting ancestors. I found one actually wrote a letter to me...well, not JUST me to his descendants which includes me, now wasn't that a special treat!
Approach Genealogy as you would a treaure hunt using every clue or wild card and not discounting or assuming
anything. If you do you are apt to find the treasures you are looking for. OH, did I mention the one ingredient
everyone who STICKS with this hobby has to have or acquire in short order......patience and I might add creativity. No one of past generations (with maybe a few exceptions like my grgrgrgr grandfather who wrote to his descendants) EVER thought someone would be looking for them and want to know all about them. Don't ever say "they didn't go to the Gold Rush or they didn't move 4states away....sure they did! What was happening in history around the time they were living? Did the acquire land in another state? Did they fight in another state then decide to go back there? Did they get caught up with a church that sent them as missionaries to a far off spot?
Many churches from New England sent out missionaries to teach the Indians in the South and they stayed there,
so don't ever make a newbie mistake in thinking small. I would love to hear your family discoveries...drop me a line sometime. We are all fishers of ideas.