It Becomes Clear

I spent the day in Boston doing research for my interdisciplinary project. For the first time, it became clear to me what I was working on. The libraries I visited—NEHGS and the Boston Public Library—took hold of me. I lost all sense of time as I dug up old census records and newspapers to flesh out the story of my ancestors. The books I’ve been reading can only do so much, because they are not about the specific people I’m looking into. What I was looking at today was much more inspiring, much more helpful.

First, I discovered I wasn’t so far off in my notion of Joseph Clark as a mariner. Sure, most of the records I’d bothered to print in the past identified him as a common laborer, but those records were mostly from the latter years of his life. As I examined census records, his marriage record, and the birth records of his children, I remembered why I’d always thought of him as a mariner. The records I’d seen before, but never printed out, were where my assumptions came from.

I also spent some time at the Boston Public Library going through old newspapers I’d seen before or I’d seen transcripts of. One of these was the Harwich Independent from 1905 which described the funeral of my third great grandmother, Caroline Eldredge Clark. It had so many important details I’d forgotten to write down the last time I saw it. This time I took a copy of it with me.

It’s become clear that the actual records of my family is where I should be spending more time. The books I’m reading serve to flesh out the history and they are a nice companion to the main portion of the project, but the main portion should be the research on my family specifically. I’ve got clarity. It’s great.

However, I still don’t have a CD player that can play MP3s and tune in AM and FM stations. The procurement of such a device was another of my goals today but I fell short. There’s always tomorrow, though.