By Daniel Hubbard | February 10, 2013
Do you have any ancestors that seem to be the end of the line? Forebears that resist every effort to discover enough to go back any further? Try working on someone else. No, I don’t mean give up. I mean work on someone who seems suspicious, someone who seems to be associated with your ancestor. People don’t live in vacuums. They have relatives, friends, and neighbors. They have business partners. They hire farmhands. They have executors, administrators, lawyers and ministers. Who were those shadowy figures and from where did they come?
Today, I have a feeling that one of my favorite categories of such people ought to be sponsors. Not the kind of sponsors that try to sell you car insurance during a Super Bowl time out. No, I mean the kind of sponsor whose name gets added to a baptismal record. I especially mean the kind of person who sponsors one of your ancestor’s children. Even better if one of his or her children was also sponsored by your ancestor. That is the kind of sponsor that would seem to be truly closely associated with your problem person.
I’m working on a project at the moment where that kind of sponsor has appeared. Both the husband and the wife are currently the end of the line. They moved to a place where the records aren’t very good on a few points and they came from a place where the records are very difficult. Did I mention that, with only slight exaggeration, both of them have first and last names that are common enough that trying to find them in earlier records isn’t so much like looking for a needle in a haystack as like looking for hay in a haystack? You will find hay alright but is it the right hay?
That is where my sponsor just might come in. He sponsored one of my couple’s children. The father returned the favor. To make it even better, the sponsor’s surname was the wife’s maiden name. He was just a few years different from her in age. One can’t jump to conclusions but he might be her brother. Of course, if this sponsor has the same surname as the wife, that means that he has an ultra common surname. So why might he help? Because, bless his soul, his given name is Malachi. What a wonderful name, Malachi. It will still take some serious work but Malachi might soon be my favorite name.
So, when all seems lost, listen to that word from their sponsors.Twitter It!