Journey of a Genealogist #12: I’m here, look again



By Barry J. Ewell

Episode 13, entitled  I’m here, look again, Barry J. Ewell shares a few of his personal experiences as a genealogist.

I had been researching my Danish ancestry for several months and had progressed several generations back to the early 1700’s.  I had reached brickwall and couldn’t seem to locate a descendent who had been born and raised a family in the area I had been researching.  .

The family had lived in the community for generations and then they were suddenly gone leaving no trace of where they might have gone.  I searched the military, community and church records to no avail.  My next step was to systematically search all the neighboring communities and parishes for a 25 mile radius.   After several weeks of research I was down to last several microfilms for the search area.  I arrived at the Family History Library at 8#1:00 a.m. and began searching a rather large parish record carefully searches line by line, page by page for most of the day.   As I finished the film and was on my way back to return the film to it’s original location, I audibly heard the words, “I’m here look again.”

I voice pierced my very soul.  I knew I had to return and research the film the next day.  When I returned the to the Family History Library the next day, I anxiously retrieved the film to embark on what I hoped would be a successful search.   Again I searched each line and page.  I went through the film forward and backwards.  Sadly at the end of the day, I was no closer that I was the day before.  As the library was closing, I was returning the film to its location and again, I heard the words, this time with greater force “I’m here look gain.”  Were the words wishful thinking or actual direction to once again search the film.

I privately agreed to give it one more look on the following day.   As I had on the previous two days, I retrieved the film.  This time there was knowledge I would find the ancestor I had been searching for.

After several hours of searing the same pages.  This time I search every word, letter and line with focused precision.  I was being very detailed in my research notes.  I had marked off page 56 and decided to take short break and rested my head to take a short nap.  When I awoke 20 minutes later, before me on the screen was the name I had been searching. The page microfilm reel had been advanced more than 100 pages.  I can’t explain why or how the film had been advanced.  I do know that that I heard and obeyed the words, “I’m here, look again.”

This like so many other experiences have taught me that my ancestors want to be found.  I have come believe that in my pursuit of researching each of my family lines, that my ancestors do take an active role in helping me join the generations.