Branching out on my genealogy journey was like everyone else's. You realize where the graphs come from that you've seen drawing out other people's family trees. One name quickly turns into three. One path quickly turns into three. You have the original person plus the parents and now you're off and chasing new clues down new lines. You're branching out! Personally I felt quite scholarly! (And very, very lucky!)
It's important to document sources and to keep these people organized in some fashion. This is your foundation. Everything on this line starts from here and builds on the initial information.
I researched how to obtain birth certificates for the three people I was now following. I got my dad's from Idaho. I got a great genealogy society to help me for a nominal fee in Montana and they sent me not only my grandmother's birth certificate but all of her siblings as well! I've truly been blessed on this journey!
Next major brick wall - how to get a birth certificate from Ireland??? Wow! I was already stumped! I didn't have a birth place other than Ireland. Hmmmm.....
I read tips from other genealogists and found out that I could obtain Social Security Administration Applications. I got my dad's and his dad's. That was pretty awesome! I got to see my dad's handwriting for the first time! He was 16. Funny what something as simple as handwriting can do to move your heart! On my grandpa's (he had now become my grandpa lol) he listed his birth place as Belfast. Eureka! A home town! Maybe I could do something with that! I researched and found out about a company that would obtain an Irish birth certificate for a fee (a little more than I had hoped to spend but I needed it).
They came back to me with the news that they couldn't find it. I was desperate and determined and a stubborn fight came into me that just wouldn't let go. I made my case and I made some threats. They looked more - using the date not the place - and they found it! He hadn't been born in Belfast! I may never know why he said he was but at last the mystery was solved! He had been born in a little town in County Down, Northern Ireland. County Down?! I'd heard of County Down! Who hasn't heard that sweet little ditty about the "Star of the County Down"? I was doing cartwheels (figuratively speaking of course). When I received it and held it in my hands I thought it was the greatest document ever!
Birth certificates are sooooo important! Sometimes death certificates don't have the information you're looking for because they're filled in by people who just didn't know what to put in the blank spaces. How often genealogists get death certificates that say "Don't Know", "Don't Know" all down the page. It's very frustrating! Birth certificates on the other hand are primarily done at the time of the birth by people who definitely know the correct information. Parents of the child are listed as well as their ages and occupations. My three people became seven! I had my dad, his parents and each of their parents! My tree was growing! I love when trees branch out!