I’m searching for a topic to write on right now. Well, I’m sort of searching. I have six or seven things I know I’m going to write. Hopefully, someday in the future (the nearer the better), I’ll be able to carve out meaningful time to write. At present I can only carve out a few quarter hours at a time. That’s not enough to make the effort worthwhile, so I don’t carve out that time and write.
So instead, what I’m doing is researching. That may sound strange, especially when I say that I let the time I spend researching drag out to hours at a time. How can I justify the time to research when I can’t justify the time to write? My only answer to that is: All time spent researching will eventually show up in writing, somehow, somewhere, sometime in the future.
In 2015 and a little in 2016, my research project has been Thomas Carlyle, leading to two different works of his. I’ve discussed that on this blog before. However, that is perhaps useless research, as I’m not certain I’ll ever actually get those two works written. Both of them are started, and both are well along. However, they will have limited appeal, and I don’t know that they will add to any scholarship on Carlyle. Anyhow, I’ve set that aside for now, all except for occasional reading in his letters (I did a little of that last night).
About two weeks ago I decided to get on with research on another project. My wife’s immigrant ancestor in her paternal line is John Cheney. He came to Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1635, residing for a few months in Roxbury before removing to Newbury. A history of the Cheney family in the USA was written in 1897 by Charles Henry Pope. As is typical of genealogies written about that time, it focuses on the men, all those who carried the Cheney name forward. The daughters and granddaughters are given very short treatment.
My goal with this book is to document John Cheney’s life in a more expansive way than Pope could in 1897, given the limit of the resources available to him, and to list all (or as many as I can identify) of his descendants for three generations. Much has been learned over the years, especially in the Internet era. More is coming available every year as more and more documents are scanned and made available for viewing on the Internet, sometimes for a fee, but often for free. I won’t be able to identify all the descendants for those generations. John Cheney had 12 children, 10 who lived to adulthood, 9 of whom had offspring. They produced the third generations, and had a total of 65 children (at current count; trying to verify three more). Of those, it appears around 50 married. If they produced an average of 6.5 children, as their parents did, that would be 325 names in the fourth generation, the third generation of John Cheney’s descendants. That’s a lot of people, even in the Internet era.
So, I’m doing this research, trying to verify what Pope has in his book (which includes no sources for specific data), and trying to add information on the daughters and their offspring. I’m reasonably complete on John Cheney’s children, and can see an end coming for his grandchildren. I have only nine left with no information other than a name and who their parents are, plus the three that people. While I’ve been writing this blog post I’ve been going back to this research, and have found reliable publications that goes a long way to documenting the children of one of John Cheney’s daughters. I had their names from Pope’s book, but not a lot of data. I still don’t have as much documented data as I’d like, but with this new source I have a lot more. Yea!
I think I’ll end this. Time to button up this new find, write the name of the source, save the URL, and put this info in a place where I can find it later, on my Nook and on my computer at work. Progress as promised. I love research.