Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Searching Through Unindexed FamilySearch Deed Records is Boring, So Let's Drum Up Some Enthusiasm To Get Through It!

No Joseph Gates here. Maybe he's on the next page??

I'm looking for my motivation today.

So I've been looking through Cortland County, New York, 1815-1820 deeds at FamilySearch.  Page by page, looking for a man (Joseph Gates), who I think is my direct ancestor.  But no sign of him yet.

Joseph Gates began appearing in the Federal census records in Cortland County in 1820, and was listed as "engaged in manufacture."  I don't what he manufactured, I don't know when he came to Cortland (although I think it was some time before the 1820 census obviously), and I don't know his wife's name.  If he and his wife bought land, then I'd know when he bought land and know her first name.  My drive to know these things compels me to keep doing this boring search.  For me this is an obsession, although not a religious calling.

It's interesting to me that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, who run FamilySearch, do consider obtaining genealogical material to be a religious calling.  I recently learned that they plan to acquire all genealogical records in the world by the middle of this century.  Wow!

The word 'enthusiasm' has always interested me, as it originally comes from the Greek, meaning "possessed by [a] god's essence" and was for a long time used only in a religious context.  Not being a particularly religious person, I still like the idea of my enthusiasm (in this case for genealogy) to be from an outer source, and possibly of unlimited scope, although I think of the 'possession' as more that I am plugged into a greater outside energy than that I have a spirit inside me, directing my actions.

Thinking about Cortland County, Joseph Gates, Mormons, and a tremendous appreciation of indexed records, got me to thinking how I could find some kind of motivation (and of course to avoid looking through those darn deed records for a few more minutes), I looked to find if there was an inspiring video about indexing to drum up some enthusiasm, preferably from an LDS member who can explain their motivation from their point of view.

The Internet being the Internet, I found what I was looking for--a sermon by LDS elder David A Bednar - "Indexing":

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