2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 37 (Sept. 9 – 15): Mistake

2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 37 (Sept. 9 – 15): Mistake

“first” joined Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks on its “first” year in 2014… and what a whirlwind year that was… writing, editing and researching daily for 365 days! As much as I wanted to continue the following year, I found that I didn’t have the time to continue another year with that type of research… although I did continue blogging and writing stories at my own pace, which allowed me to write on other topics as well as family stories when ideas came my way… but I’ve often missed it. The first year were no specific weekly prompts like today… but I’m taking a different spin on them. There will be some posts on a specific ancestor, but most will be memories that spring from those prompts. Head over to 2014 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks to read about my ancestors in the first years challenge.

If you’re new to genealogy, make your “first” stop to Amy’s website for genealogy ideas or even join in on this 52 Week challenge… you learn by doing… not procrastinating! There is no right or wrong… anything you do is a start!



Life is full of mistakes, and you’ve been told all your life… “learn from your mistakes.” But do you? For the most part, I’d say yes I have. I’ve often told my children that you have to make mistakes to fully learn from them. So what have I learned through my mistakes?

As a young child, you learn that when mama says wear your shoes… and you don’t, that you often are going to step on, or in something. You learn quickly that you don’t or shouldn’t ride your bike barefoot… if you value your toes, and those pedal bars certainly don’t feel good on bare feet.

Growing up in the South, I’ve always been a “barefoot” girl, for the most part. I think it’s just something about that part of the country where you go barefoot. My husband will strongly disagree on why anyone should go barefoot… as he believes it’s bad for your feet, giving you flat feet through the years. I think his biggest reason is… that there is too much to step on, like a piece of broken glass still hiding, just waiting for you… he always says, that if it’s there I’ll walk right by it, but it will always find his bare foot. He hardly ever goes without sneakers or slippers, and I can say with certainty that whenever he dares to walk somewhere in the house barefoot, either he stumps his toe or finds that lurking piece of glass… just waiting for him! And then I hear the words, “see I told you, whenever I don’t wear my slippers, I step on something.” So that’s his “mistake.”

In looking back, I made many mistakes in school… not paying attention was my biggest! I fought strongly against learning… always saying how I couldn’t understand… but now I think I made the mistake of actually just not want wanting to understand; learning that mistake came way after school. I pushed my children to pay more attention in school and not let them squirm out of things, as easily as I did… so maybe I did learn from my mistakes!

I can still hear my father telling me that I was making a “mistake” getting married so quickly… only knowing my husband for a short while… but I can definitely say that I made no mistake in marrying, as I’ve been happily married for 48 years… although he might not be so happy with me at times… as I can be slightly impatient, demanding  and can amass stacks of papers and books in researching… but he never complains! I do try to learn from my mistakes on the impatience and demanding faults, but….

While my parents never showed any interest in family history when I was a child, after I married, my mother wrote down all the family names she knew and how they were connected to me; she made no mistakes! While I wasn’t interested at the time in researching… make no mistake about it… I filed those papers away in a drawer for safe keeping!

The one mistake my mother made was in not saving the love letters she and daddy wrote to each other while he was in the Navy, and even after they married. What I wouldn’t give to be able to read their thoughts to each other. I won’t make that same mistake… as I have the letters that hubby and I wrote to each other before we married and while he was stationed in Thailand after we married.

Mistakes come in all shapes throughout life!

In my many hobbies of knitting, genealogy, and so many other crafts I’ve tackled over the years… there have been mistakes! Who doesn’t knit or crochet without making a mistake… but making them helps you to become a better knitter. No matter when I discover that I’ve made a mistake, I’m never satisfied until I’ve “frogged” (ripped out) it… and corrected that mistake! While some are content to let their “boo boo” go… it just drives me crazy… and no matter how long I have to sit there diligently studying how to correct it… I will make that correction! It might not leave me in the greatest of moods as I sit there counting stitches and rows… as hubby will attest to! Nothing gets me more crazy when I’m counting… when he begins asking or telling me something… then I become loud in my counting to let him know… That I’m Counting!

There are so many examples of “mistakes” that I’ve found through the years in researching my family history… with census records being probably the first place I’ve found mistakes… and there isn’t anyone who hasn’t found any. Probably the spelling of my ancestors surnames would be the biggest mistakes… but I can’t always blame the census enumerator, as they were only trying to spell the names as they heard them… and often people didn’t even know how to spell their own name… which certainly didn’t help!

Census Mistakes:

  • Name spellings
  • incorrect ages
  • parents born in wrong states
  • wrong info given; depending on who gave it to the census enumerator
  • families living in area, but never appearing on the census
  • census enumerators writing info incorrectly on census lines… logging family members in wrong families; check families next to yours

In my family, I’ve often had to play Nancy Drew in deciphering where my ancestors lived in a county, when they weren’t easily found. Often it was the spelling of the surname which stopped them from showing up easily enough. After learning from your early mistakes… you quickly learn how to search for them in a county by searching for their first names – or going page by page looking at all families – or searching for their neighbors, if known, as they might be nearby.

One family really puzzled me as to where their children actually lived…as the parents had listed all their children, married or not, as living in their household. What tipped me off to that, was when I also had found their married children living in another state, and raising a family. That mistake took me awhile to finally figure out where they actually were.

In my husband’s family, his grandfather’s Italian surname became changed over the years by his own mistake. I was surprised that it wasn’t changed at Ellis Island as so many were; the inspectors had a hard time spelling names and the people themselves, speaking no English, weren’t of much help. Luckily though, his surname of Gambino survived its spelling there, but later it somehow transformed into Cambino. I’ve always felt that he wanted to lose the mafia stigma associated with his surname in America… and was happy to have a more modern version of Cambino.

Another mistake I quickly learned to correct, was how I searched for married women on passenger ship lists as they sailed to America. Whether married or not, they traveled under their maiden names, as well as their children.

We all learn from our mistakes… at least we’re supposed to. A mistake is an error, a goof up… meaning you have researched something incorrectly, but mistakes have a lot of uses… as they actually are a teaching rule… as long as you pay attention and learn what went wrong!

Mistakes are good… they help you… just be sure you learn from them!


Continue reading 2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks over HERE!

To read more Family Stories… click HERE.

© 2019, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

About Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

My blog is at: https://everyonehasafamilystorytotell.wordpress.com/
This entry was posted in 2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, Daily Writings and funnies... and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 37 (Sept. 9 – 15): Mistake

  1. I’m a Kansas girl and ran about barefoot all summer. Yes, over time, I stepped on bees, nails, glass, etc. but to this day, I still like going barefoot. PS – for your husband’s information, it didn’t give me flat feet. I still have quite high arches, which I probably can thank some ancestor for.

    Liked by 1 person

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