I started to seriously research the various lines of my family in 1997. One of those lines was of my great-grandmother Laura (Wortman) Hardenbrook. At the time an Internet search brought me to the Wortman line “documented” by a fellow researcher. I contacted him and he sent me the family chart which starts with William Wortman b: bef 1810 up through my grandmother Maude Emma (Hardenbrook) Agard.
The Wortmans of Jacksonville, NY
This was great! I copied the information from the chart into my Word document and started researching William and Mary (Gordon) Wortman’s eleven children. That was all well and good until this weekend, when I revisited this family line and found I had no valid citations as to how these lines are connected. When I was a baby genealogist, I had taken what another researcher had done (without citations of how he proved this family line) and had thought it gospel.
I have to start again – a genealogy do-over – and carefully trace this family line back through the census and then into books and archives to see if my Wortman line indeed goes back to the family of William and Mary C. (Gordon) Wortman, who I believe came to Upstate New York from New Jersey. This revelation was discouraging, but on the bright side, it forced me to pull out my original binder and read what I had written many years ago.
The good news – My Binder
My large 3 ring binder holds write-ups on my various family lines. I was pleased to see that I had a nice title page, a beautifully written introduction (featuring the genealogical lines that were united when my parents were married in 1941), a table of contents (organized starting with the earliest arrival of Rev. John Lowthropp in Barnstable, MA in mid-1600s to my Nunn/Doyle side arriving New York City late 1800s), disclaimer page, family and social history time line. Somewhere I have a medical history chart started as well. I will have to find that and include. My binder has separation tabs for each family line, some chapters have family charts, some have a draft index, and I have an overall draft index at the end.
Although discouraged by the state of my Wortman family research, I am encouraged by what I have accomplished overall in writing my family history book. I have finished monographs on my Hardenbrook and Nunn lines. I've been working on the Tucker family, and now, of course, I'll have to add the Wortmans to my to-do list.
What I love about genealogy is I keep learning new things, and I know I will never be done. Whether you are just starting or a seasoned researcher, take advantage of two new books: Genealogy Basics in 30 Minutes by Shannon Combs-Bennett and Planning a Future for Your Family’s Past by Marian Burk Wood. Both books are well written and reasonably priced. Both books found on Amazon.
Part 2 of this blog will discuss file folders, indexing, and decisions I have to make for the next steps. In the meantime, I wish you happy researching.