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AfriGeneas Genealogy and History Forum Archive

Re: Research: Not over til the fat lady sings


Cynthia is absolutely right. Put it aside for a while, just let it rest.

What I do is I send my request up to the universe, walk away from it, and know that somehow, someway, my request for information will be fulfilled.

Lemme give you an example. I'd been researching my black Canadian LEE ancestors for years, and there was one line that seemed to just drop off the face of the Earth after about 1896. I'd hoped that the son, William B. Lee, Jr, had married and had children, meaning that I'd find a whole bunch of Lee cousins in Canada somewhere, but the harder I searched, the less I found. Frustration doesn't begin to express how I felt, month after month ... nothing.

So, I just told the universe, "If there are any Lee cousins out there, let them find me," and I let it go.

Every year of my search, I took a research trip to Collingwood, Ontario, the place where William's father had died in 1896, and the library staff knew me well ... though Collingwood was packed with blacks 150 years ago, you can count the remaining blacks there on one hand, so it was easy for them to remember me.

Anyway, a few months after I put my Lee research away, I received an email from a woman named Heidi Lee, who had visited the same Collingwood library shortly after my last visit, looking for information on William B. Lee. As soon as she asked, the librarians told her, "You must be Lisa's cousin -- she was just here." Heidi was able to find me via

As it turned out, that one "missing" branch of Lees had left Ontario after the old man passed and came across Lake Huron to the index finger of Michigan (Rogers City), and from there, they moved to Flint.
I grew up in Detroit, which is about 30 miles from Flint, and all those years, I had no idea that I have a TON of Lee cousins all over Michigan.

My point ... THE ANCESTORS WANT TO BE FOUND. They want their stories to be told. Here I was, looking all over Canada, hi and lo, only to find out that they'd been "hiding" in my backyard all the time.

Give it some time and ask the ancestors to find you.

It ALWAYS works. You'll see. Just keep working on some other lines in the meantime.

All the best in your search, my friend. We've all been where you are, and I can tell you, from the "other" side, that you'll find all the answers ... in time.

- Lisa B. Lee, PLCGS
Oakland, CA

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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