The key that unlocks our genealogical treasure

Some time ago, I locked my keys in the car. I called a locksmith, and eventually he arrived. From a short distance, I observed what he was doing. He fit an uncut key blank into the lock and pulled it out. Then he cut the jogs in the blank exactly where the “tumblers” on the inside of the lock were located. Pulling the blank out, he did a little more cutting of jogs. After he stuck it into the lock cylinder and turned it, he pulled it out again, smoothing the rough edges on the jogs of the key with a wire brush. Finally, he put the key back into the lock and turned it. Then came the "click!" The car door unlocked and I retrieved my old set of keys.

Sound familiar? I am sure it is for many of us. This is similar to our genealogy. We see that certain pieces of information on our family tree may work like the cut “jogs” on the “key” and opening the “lock” to our genealogical treasure.

Our family tree may be missing a name or perhaps many names of ancestors. Some birth dates or marriage locations may be lacking on the tree.

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