Getting lost in the (research) weeds

Quick update related to my last post written in November–that first contract on our house fell through, but we eventually accepted another one and settled in April.

We’re now renting a little vacay place owned by the hubster’s parents, for which I offered implementation of my newly acquired reno skills.  I was startled by how eagerly the in-laws accepted my offer and have been dutifully working away at refurbishing it for the last few weeks.  I’m now at a point where I can take a break, let the aches and pains settle down and the coffers refill for another round of buying and installing in the not-too-distant future.

I’ve done a bit of sitting down to the writing table here and there over these last weeks, but came to realize that I’m really spending most of that time on research.  I’m writing a book based on the entries of an autograph/friendship album found recently in family records, and learning about the people, the times and the places mentioned there has led me into hours spent pouring over records.  For instance, I spent a precious two hours yesterday finding and saving records for several people with the surname of McClellan who lived in and around the town where my family lived.  My great-times-two grandmother’s maiden name was McClellan, and the thought that some of these folks might be her relations spurred me on to keep searching and saving.  I was hopeful that, at the very least, one of those wordy old-time obituaries would mention that someone was a cousin or sibling, something that would link at least one of these people definitively to my family.  No such luck.

I’m debating whether to dive back down that particular research rabbit hole and keep searching, or give it up and move on.  Ah, the slippery slope of research–hours of effort that can result in either a treasure trove of information, a few scant bits of data, or most frustratingly the uselessness of maybes and what-ifs.

As I write this, I know what I’ll most likely do.  Research that is fascinating to the researcher turns them into a dog with a bone–it becomes nearly impossible to let go.  I’ll resume my search for that elusive McClellan link.  Of course.

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