I've been feeling pretty bummed about genealogy since I got back from Salt Lake City -- don't know why, exactly, but it seems as if I'm spinning my wheels and not getting anywhere. I've tried spending more time going collateral but haven't uncovered much new about the Ortmanns. I've requested a few things, especially the medical records of an ancestor who died in a mental institution, but haven't heard back. I've emailed a few possible connections through Ancestry and My Heritage, but have gotten no response. I could write away for more certificates, but I'm kind of broke right now. So what to do? I've been googling this and reviewing that, going over my tree and cleaning up sources, thinking about what microfilms I should order next from Salt Lake . . . there are, in fact, many tasks I could be doing, but it's mostly tedious work and I just don't feel like doing it. Frankly, I'm bored with the whole thing.
But, I'm keeping up with reading related to the Do-Over. The other day, Thomas MacEntee posted a link to this article: 50 Best Genealogy Brick Wall Solutions and I thought I'd give it a read. In an article full of interesting tips, one in particular caught my eye -- searching by village. When you become frustrated searching by surname for an ancestor who came from a small town or village, the writer suggests that you try searching the name of the village and a significant year, and see what you find.
I'm always willing to give something a try. I entered the village and the year of my great-grandfather's birth: Oberglogau 1840. Much to my surprise, up popped information from an Ortsfamilienbuch (a record of the history of families in a particular town) not from Oberglogau but from Leobschuetz, a village I've never heard of. And there before my eyes was a record of my great-grandfather marrying a woman in a town other than his the village of his birth. The record included the fact that my great-grandfather was working as a Schornsteinfeger (chimney sweep), which confirms other information I have, and also on another page has a notation that his parents, Anton Langer and Barbara Kura, were never married, which is probably why my attempts to find a marriage record for them have come to naught.
Wow! What a find! This at least begins to fill in the large gap between Maximilian Langer's youth in Oberglogau and when he shows up in Bremen and marries my great-grandmother in the 1880's. I'd like to find out what happened to Marie Baumert -- the record says they had no children.
It has been my experience that, along with the grunt work that produces records where you expect to find them, pieces of information will pop up when you least expect them to. The moral of the story, I guess, is to keep trying, even if you're kind of disheartened and even bored with the whole thing. A small find like this one, a complete surprise, really, can be energizing and exciting. So keep going! Try something you haven't thought of before! You honestly never know what you'll come up with.