Why This Blog OR Another Genealogy Blog, Really?

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Mission Statement: Almost Home exists to assist individuals and families who desire to learn more about those who preceded them — their lives, their homes and their times.

It is my personal belief that no genealogist ever “arrives.” The journey is perpetual. A family historian may follow one direct line as deeply as the records allow, but there is virtually no limit on following the width of a family tree. One generation may pass their genealogy work to a family member of a younger generation who still finds branches enough to explore to last his or her entire lifetime. Newly found information or technology comes along, allowing for new discoveries or challenges to long-held assumptions. People marry into families. Children are born. Families grow. Genealogy is a journey, not a destination.

Genealogists are essentially historians who choose to focus their attention on people who may not necessarily be mentioned in history books, but who matter to their posterity. Serious genealogists may become experts in certain geographic regions, time periods, methodologies or other niches. Just as no one can know everything there is to know about history, no genealogist can be an expert in ALL matters related to genealogy. We each have something we can learn from someone else. In fact, I would argue that never was the adage, “The more you know, the less you know,” more true than when applied to genealogists.

Good genealogy research can sometimes seem hard to come by. When I first began researching my family, I made all the common rookie mistakes. I made assumptions; I jumped to faulty conclusions; I failed to keep a research log; I failed to document my sources; I lacked organization; and I believed that most family trees posted on the internet contained accurate information. You might say I wasted a LOT of time in the process. But, as my high school English teacher used to say, “What there is time to do wrong, there is time to do over.” To this day, as I work on my family tree, I am still trying to correct mistakes made in those early years. Nevertheless, I am choosing to call those mistakes learning opportunities. Now that I know the consequences of bad genealogy, I am all the more committed to doing it right. It is still tempting to keep searching when I’m hot on the trail of an elusive ancestor instead of taking the time to document and organize the information (or the hope for information) that led me to the trail in the first place. Yet, I have learned if I fail in this, I will at best have to perform the same search again, or worse, never be able to prove or disprove the fact for which I am searching.

While I am happy to acknowledge my growth as a genealogist, I also recognize I will always have more to learn. This is why in the midst of a virtual world with no lack of genealogy-themed information, I have started this blog and corresponding website. It simply provides a platform which allows me to simultaneously assist and learn from other genealogists.

Simply put, this blog is my attempt to help others who are seeking their own family histories AS WELL as my attempt to learn from my fellow family historians. I don’t claim to know it all. I’ve made mistakes and I’ll likely make more, but as long as someone who is participating here learns SOMETHING which will help that individual find his or her way “home,” I will feel that I have succeeded. Thank you for taking the time to read or contribute to the content here. You are welcome any time.

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