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.