By Brenda K. Smith
Treasure Coast Genealogical Society
While pondering genealogical research, I have come to the conclusion that men and women go about their tasks with different goals in mind.
Women are more family oriented, while men are much more technical and business minded.
I have noticed this when corresponding with male researchers about a family I thought I knew quite a bit about. As it usually turns out, he will have all kinds of facts either I haven't found, or simply glossed over because they weren't of much interest to me. It would be a great advantage to have a husband and wife, brother and sister, etc., to work on the same family to get a complete picture.
Take for example, researching military records. When the male ancestor was of the right age to have fought in a major war, I always look for a record, but I don't comb every military index for every male on my chart. A man is more likely to do that. When I find the military record, I look for all the genealogical data; age, physical description, dates, places, injuries, imprisonments, pension records, and anything to do with his family.
The male researcher will research the whole war. He will investigate all the battles he was in, his commanders, their movements, equipment, treaties, uniforms, you name it!
He may very well have walked the whole battlefield in person and relived the battle blow by blow. Believe me, I've been there.
I just want to know if he was in the war, where he served, did he live or die, get hurt, come home, and did he or his widow get a pension. Copies of any papers, certificates, or photos are much appreciated, but I don't need rocks and dirt from the actual battlefield.
Now, let's look at land records. Land records are full of genealogy. They give you where and when your ancestors lived in each area. You can trace their movements from around the county to around the country and even the world. You can see who their neighbors were and often the relationships. There can often be vital family information in those records detailing inheritances, or buying and selling of the property to family members. Of course, I'm interested in how much land he owned and how much he paid, and where it came from, but I don't usually pull out the plat maps unless I am really trying to solve a problem.
The male researcher will have a record of every sale, the amount paid, any mortgages, interest rates, seller's name, date, when it was resold, and each piece platted out perfectly on the map. Again, he may actually have visited each piece, and be able to tell you how much it is worth on today's market. As a rule, I'm happy knowing the neighborhood, and driving by someday, unless I find a reason to think it is worth more investigation.
Then there is the marriage and family issue. There is usually a new baby on average of every two years. Many women seem to just wear out and die and are replaced. I'm sure the men look at the situation and see the men wearing out and dying, trying to provide for this growing family. They often have to be replaced, also.
I guess men and women are as different in genealogy, as they are in everything else, but together we make history.
If you need any help just send me a message; you will make a new friend, plant a seed, and maybe reap some reward.
To contact Mrs. Smith, e-mail, BrendaKSmith@prodigy.net
The Treasure Coast Genealogical Society meets every third Tuesday at the Fort Pierce Main Library, Melody Lane, from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Volunteers are at the library every Tuesday from 9 a.m. -3 p.m. to help with research