A few weeks ago my youngest daughter Hannah came home for a few weeks break when the college term ended. My husband and I, and Lacey and Hannah went out shopping on a Saturday afternoon, and when we go to the second store Hannah wasn’t feeling very well so she said she was just going to wait in the car. I handed her the car keys, and we all went inside to finish our final errand.
The following Monday I needed to run an errand. I searched and searched for my car keys and couldn’t find them anywhere. I called Bill, I called Lacey, and I called Hannah. No one knew where they were. I scoured my car two separate times, but alas, they were nowhere to be found.
Finally I stopped, sat down, and tried to visualize the last time I had the keys.
I knew I had them when we went to the store on Saturday because I locked the front door when we left. Then I remembered that I had handed them to Hannah who had stayed in the car when we got to the second store. If she didn’t have them, (and she was adamant that she didn't) then they must be in the car. But of course I had already combed through the car twice and hadn’t found them so I wasn’t feeling very optimistic about a third search.
I headed for the garage for one last look anyway. As I opened the front passenger door where I had been sitting and searched twice before, it dawned on me that I was looking from MY perspective, when in reality I last remember handing them to Hannah. What if I looked for the keys from Hannah’s perspective?
I closed the car door, and opened the back door on the side where she had been sitting. I climbed inside, and looked around. Nothing. Then I leaned forward as if I were taking the keys from the person in the front seat and there they were wedged between the center console and the back side of seat in front of me! There was no way I could have seen the keys except from that position.
And like most things do, this got me thinking about genealogy.
If we only approach our research from our perspective, we miss countless gems along the way.
Have you climbed in the backseat lately? Have you visualized your research questions from your ancestors perspective? Have you learned more about the places and times in which they lived? How could their perspective help you see what is wedged between the cracks of your brick walls?