I have to admit that I have probably found more genealogical material by luck then by proper research technique, though gradually I'm getting it right. I know it's important to cite accurate references with regard to material that one manages to surface.
I've discovered thousands of relatives now, who lived in England, Ireland, Germany, the United States and Ontario, Canada. My questing is insatiable, my research painstaking, persistent, and may I say it's also been very productive. Presently, my ancestry family tree has over 17,000 names of people to whom I'm linked either directly or indirectly.
When I first began questing in the early 1980s, all that was available – or all that I could find, were a few books in libraries that related how to do it but gave very little in the way of actual source material. However, once I found a microfiche of early Upper Canada land records and from them I was introduced to records of the actual lands that had been deeded to my ancestor Christian Almas, a Hessian soldier who had fought with the British in the US Revolutionary War. At that point, I didn't even know that Christian was an ancestor (I knew only the name 'Almas,' my mother's maiden name); but I was hooked and I was away. And the questing has not yet ended, if ever it will.
I've found so much information since those early days – often directly, by simply asking living relatives to recount the stories and information they had received and retained. I've also found information through the research of countless hours of microfilm and microfiche perusal. And ver the years, I've travelled extensively to places where my forbearers lived and have been privileged to talk with descendants in villages, towns and cities, on the farms and in churches where dear ones now dead and gone 'lived and moved and had their being.'
With investments of time and money available to me and chosen for such outlay, I continue my search, combing through online genealogical data from various sites that have gathered it, or that can point to information available elsewhere in parish records of births, marriages, deaths and wills. There is so much more now online than ever before, and more is being added daily to various sites.
I have been helped in my search by subscribing to findmyfamily.com and to ancestry.ca and I have benefited too from the free records the Mormons have made available in their local genealogical centres and on familysearch.org.
It seems that in every family there is at least one person who is interested in the family story. For some, the interest to know about family and where they have come from, arises too late, since those of whom they should have asked questions are no longer present and available for them to do so.
I find it a privilege to be the one in my family who has been blessed with this hobby. What a ride! What an interesting, compelling [should I say addictive?] hobby and pursuit.
Again, my curiosity, wonder and amazement in searching out family lore is almost insatiable. And I also feel compelled - with a kind of evangelistic impulse, to pass on the good news I find - to family members and friends with whom I share the Journey of life. It's not THE Gospel but still, I think such findings are gifts of God's grace, mercy and care.
And - I think I'll meet them all one day, or at least some (most?) of them. That'll take a while - even in Eternity!
For more information about Christian Almas, see http://www.laurencebarber.ca/Families/almas.htm