As I said last week, I’m trying to participate in Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks blog challenge this year (if you’d like to read my original post, you can find it here).
This week’s word prompt is “Challenge”. Now I don’t know about you, but for me, genealogy is the definition of challenge all by itself. When you are doing actual research, not just following shaky leaves, that “one” document that fills in one tiny piece of information that you’ve been looking for for the last decade is also the most rewarding part of this whole passion that we share. But getting to that document is always a challenge, at least to me.
So far, most of the lines that I am working on have focused around Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Arkansas, and most of them were poor. I have yet to find a record of any one of them having large pieces of real estate or some fancy proceedings in court records upon their death. Heck, most of them don’t even have tax records! I am, however, holding out hope that I find evidence of a rich uncle that once owned half of the state of Missouri and is just looking for a long lost relative to will his vast wealth to.
My most recent challenge actually came out of nowhere. This last couple of weeks I’ve been focusing my efforts on my Trim ancestors – these are my mother’s paternal line. They’ve been researched for years by lots of people so I didn’t really expect there to be much to do. Well, there’s nothing like an assumption to make you feel like an ass, right? By going back through what other people have put together online I’m finding not only blatant mistakes that have long been held as true, but families linked together just because the names are similar, but without any actual proof. I’ve realized that my once long-reaching line of Trims that went all the way back to Ireland in the 1400s is just a bunch of hogwash.
Back when I started on this line around the first of the month, I followed the advice of many others – start with what you know, but document the snot out of your facts. In doing so, I ordered a copy of my Grandpa’s birth certificate. Eddie Lee Trim was born in 1920 and died in 1983 when I was 9 years old. As far as I was concerned, that man hung the stars and moon and could do nothing wrong. He’s still one of my favorite people. And one that I knew the basics on. I know his birth date because I remember celebrating birthdays with him and my cousin, Clair, who was born one day after his birthday. I know when he died, because that was the first major devastating event in my life. I know all the vitals about marriage, residences over the years, occupations, military service, etc. So when I got his birth certificate in the mail today, it was with the expectation that I would scan it, file it in my genealogy binder and just hold on to it. Except, I wasn’t anticipating it to list his name as ERNEST!! What the actual heck?
And what’s even funnier to me, is that the handwriting is so terrible that whoever indexed it in Mississippi’s records, listed his last name of Trim as Irvin. So to find his birth record, instead of looking for Eddie Trim, I should’ve been looking for Ernest Irvin. Talk about making things challenging! If I’d not had all the details that I do on him already, the state wouldn’t have been able to find him.
As an explanation, my old and faulty memory is trying to recall the details of a snippet of conversation that I seem to remember my Grandma and my Mom having a long time ago about Grandpa’s birth certificate being filled out incorrectly by the hospital. I hope I’m not making up in my head, but I think they were discussing it because MY birth certificate was messed up at the hospital – I was supposed to be a French Cherie instead of an American Sheri.
I suppose the truth is that I may never know if it truly was a mistake on the hospital’s part (or whoever filled out the paperwork) or if his parents had a change of heart after naming him and decided that Eddie Lee was much more suitable to his country personality. Either way, it made for a big surprise and a funny story that I can pass along!
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