Putting an ancestor on the shelf

After how many hours of research do you finally put an ancestor on the shelf for a while? I will get to do research on my Thomas Powers in May when I go to Marion Co, TN, but at the moment I seem to have hit the brick wall; though I still find myself typing in his name in hopes that something new has popped up somewhere. I've gone over microfilm, I've sifted through library books and he just isn't giving me any clues at the moment.  I know I should put him away for a while, but I keep thinking that one more search will yield me something.

I have plenty of other ancestors that I'm sure would love for me to find their stories, but Thomas just won't let go. I have 2 distant cousins I've met online and they are eager for me to join in our Jones research (talk about a needle in a haystack), but every time I sit down and start going through my info, I hear Thomas Powers calling to me.

I don't have the answer to my question, but I think this blog will serve as my statement of intent to put Thomas on a high shelf for a while. I'm sure he will not go quietly, but go he must. At least until my research trip or until the Jones' send me into a brick wall.


  1. I enjoy picking up ones I haven't worked on for awhile. I got an email this morning that has me on whole new line. Fun! ;-)
    Welcome to the Geneabloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I have found it most stimulating, especially some of the Daily Themes.

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill ;-)
    Author of "Back to the Homeplace"
    and "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories"

  2. I also have a hard time putting those brick walls on the shelf. I often use various messages boards to try to get leads and because it can sometimes take MONTHS to get responses (if at all) I will post a query on a brickwall ancestor and then set them aside while I wait for a response. I will post on every Surname and location message board I can find that relates to that individual and wait. That way I feel like I'm doing something even while I take a break. Good luck putting him down!

  3. It is hard to put them on the shelf, but I often find that if I do, I come back to it with another perspective later - or else another database is available online and they show up finally!!


  4. I have definitely put ancestors on shelves (notice the plurals?). I switch branches and work on other lines for awhile. Then I later come back and review my evidence and notes with fresh eyes. I find this very helpful and sometimes see things I've missed or just get a new idea on where to proceed.
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)


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