Friday, August 12, 2011

Productive Diversions

Sometimes I get so deep in research on a particular topic that the end result is I'm so deep I can't see much. It's like the old saying, "You can't see the forest for the trees." Apparently that applies to family trees as well.

I've learned over the years I have to force myself to switch gears and go work on a different tangent, some other avenue of research. It may be about the same person, but a different part of his life or at a different location.

This is precisely what I've done the last couple of days regarding my ancestor Robert Patterson (d. 1775 SC). Much time and effort has been spent of late on his years on Linville Creek in VA. A lot of progress has been made and I'm getting closer to pinpointing exactly where he lived. But it's time for a break.

So I've switched over to his time prior to that - in Sussex Co DE. In 1732 Robert Patterson bought 106 acres on Pemberton's Branch (of Broadkill River). Past research has allowed me to get fairly close to where this was, but like Linville Creek VA of late, the road blocks appeared. So the last couple of days I've picked that up again as a diversion, to clear my mind of VA and focus on something new.


I am in the process of documenting my findings and will publish them in my next post. But I can say with great confidence that I have identified the exact location of Patterson's 106 acre tract in DE. He sold it in 1738 when they were preparing to move to VA. Between his buying and selling deeds, plus future dispositions of the land, coupled with the advancements of modern mapping tools on Yahoo and Google, I have located the spot where it stood. And don't forget the best tool of all - DeedMapper. With the latter program I know the shape of the tract which is critical to finding it on modern maps.

So why couldn't I find it before? Who knows? But this is an example of a PRODUCTIVE DIVERSION. You'd be surprised at how often this works for me.