Sunday, January 10, 2010

SNGF: Superpower Edition

1) Answer the question: Do you have a genealogical “superpower”? (i.e., a unique research ability or technique that helps you track down records or assemble conclusions that others can’t?) If so, what is it?

2) Tell us about it in a blog post, a comment to this post, a comment to Dean's post, or a comment to this post on Facebook or Twitter.

3) If you have a picture of yourself in superpower mode, please show it to us!
I'm a little late to the party but still wanted to participate if only because I haven't done any SNGF prompts in what seems like forever and that makes me sad.  So, to get back in the swing of things here is my "superpower:"

I have a really good memory.  I'm able to take mental snapshots of things I see and hear and recall them pretty easily.  This makes it easy to do genealogy without my papers and databases in front of me and it also makes it easy to remember where to find my genealogical goodies.  I'm also able to recall the family stories I've been told over the years pretty easily.  Unfortunately, it also means that I'm not much of an organizer.  I generally remember where to find things so I don't really bother with any kind of a filing system.  It works for me but I pity anyone beside me who has to try and sort through the genealogy information I've compiled over the years.  Having a good memory also tends to make me lazy too.  Because I'm able to remember these things, I don't put much stock in writing them down or bothering to scan and photograph things.  I know that I need to change my mindset now because I'm sure I'll be paying for it in the future if I don't.

As far as a research technique or skill, I think I'm pretty good at looking at things from multiple angles.  If I can't get anywhere with my research I'll try other avenues and ways of looking at the information I do have in the pursuit of furthering it.   I put a lot of stock in the little details and I think that helps too.  Paying attention to all the details has probably been the hardest research skill for me to learn.  It is pretty easily to disregard the tiny things but I've found that they can make or break my research.  For instance, I've been having a heck of a time trying to figure out where in New Jersey one branch of my family tree lived.  I read a family memoir which mentioned a Lockport (though the author was unsure of the name so this could be wrong) as a nearest town and from there I figured that it was probably Keyport.   I also know from reading the memoir that going to New York City wasn't big trip.  They went often and New York City relatives visited them in the New Jersey countryside often too.  So I know they lived pretty close to New York City.  Then I reread some parts and noticed that it said they were "within walking distance to the ocean."  That was one new clue.  Next I read that they supposedly lived near the beach where Captain Kidd buried his treasure.  Now I have a pretty good idea where in New Jersey they lived after looking at different maps.  It was along Raritan Bay most likely and a fair distance from Lockport/Keyport, I'm guessing in the Treasure Lake/Cliftwood area.  Another possibility could be Loch Arbour.  It sounds similar to Lockport, it is on the ocean and is only an hour from Philadelphia, where the parents were supposedly married.  While I still don't know exactly where they lived, looking at all the details and angles has made it possible for me to point to a general (Monmouth County) area where they probably had their farm.

The only costume picture I have on me is of me dressed like a pirate from Halloween several years ago.  And since dressing like a pirate isn't my superpower, it probably isn't an applicable picture to use in this instance.

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