What Hamp?

When I was a small and fell and got hurt or there was something that I needed to tell my mother, she would often ask me “what hamp?”

That’s a good question to ask about our ancestors as well–although we may end up knowing less about the situation than my mother did after she heard my explanation.

My great-grandfather lost two farms to foreclosures between 1898 and 1910. For the next fifteen or so years he and the family moved from one rental farm to another. Then in the mid-1920s he “settled” and purchased a farm that remains in the family until this day. I did not give it much thought until I looked through the estate settlement for his father who died in 1916. It took over ten years for the farm to sell, but there was a substantial settlement for each child. That’s where great-grandfather got his 1920 era down payment.

Another ancestor remained in Indiana (long after all her children moved further west) until the mid-1860s. That corresponded with her husband’s death in 1864.

Another set of great-grandparents attended the nearby German speaking church and abruptly went to the English-speaking church in town around 1925–the year after my great-grandfather’s father died.

I can’t be entirely certain the events are tied to each other–after all I was not there and there’s no written documentation left behind.

Remember that virtually no event happens in complete isolation of other events. You may never figure out exactly “why” a family purchased a farm when they did, moved when they did, or left the church when they did and you should not state that you know when you don’t.

But looking to see…that may get you new information.

And that’s often what research is about.