Two years ago I was searching for the parents of my 2nd great grandfather Morgan Lash who was born in 1823 in Dutchess County, New York, and having no luck. I looked everywhere I could think of, from Ancestry to Family Search to plain old Google searches. I scoured newspapers, online books, and census records without finding anything substantive. There were lots of mentions of him, but the trees ended there. With so many references to Morgan, surely someone had thought to check his death certificate? But having nothing to lose, (except $22 and the frustration of dealing with the NY Department of Health and their backlog), I coughed up the money and mailed the application.
Since I was sure another researcher must have already checked this document and found the space for parent's names blank, I was utterly surprised to find, on it's arrival, Henry Lash and Sarah Fiddler! I contacted a fellow Lash researcher and shared the information with him, which I soon came to regret as he was definitely not into reciprocity and never shared anything with me, (don't you hate that?). He sure shared what I had sent him though. If you look at those websites today you will find Henry and Sarah on all of them. I'm not complaining here, sharing is a good thing and anyway I would have posted the information myself eventually. Building on the puzzle pieces you find yourself and those found by others is how we can advance our research more quickly.
What I am thinking, is how amazing this internet is. In a relatively short time, the information I found is everywhere! I'm also thinking how fortunate we are to have this fabulous tool which makes tracing our ancestors is so much easier than back when we had to send letters to courthouses and churches and hope for a response. My young grandchildren on the other hand take the net for granted, and why wouldn't they? The TV I take for granted was a pretty big deal for my father's generation. I don't think I will ever get over my fascination with this wonderful invention on which I spend far too much time. Like today--as a late winter snowstorm pounds Rochester, New York, and that darn groundhog saw his shadow predicting six more weeks of winter, I will be basking in the glow of my computer screen, I love technology.