Note: The following article was written by George G. Morgan and is copyright 2008 by the author.
Mel Fisher was, without doubt, the most successful treasure hunter in history. He dreamed of discovering the wrecks of the two Spanish galleons, Nuestra Señora de Atocha and Santa Margarita, and the treasures they had carried. The ships were lost during a hurricane on 6 September 1622 off the coast of Key West, Florida. Fisher insisted each day that, “Today’s the day!” On 20 July 1985, he and his crew discovered the treasure, a staggering $450 million, after a 14-year search.
Genealogists are much like Mel Fisher and his crew, searching for the treasure lost and forgotten by time. And while the treasure we seek isn’t necessarily monetary in nature, our approach must be similar in nature.
Our approach to locating information about our ancestors and their family members must be methodical. Sometimes a clue or a piece of evidence comes to light when it isn’t expected, but these “lucky finds” are few and far between. You certainly have read or been told how to develop a research plan in order to conduct an effective search for evidence. However, do you really do it? Even a visit to a public library, archive, courthouse, or cemetery really requires some advance preparation and a plan. Otherwise, you are probably only making a random trip in hopes of luckily finding “something.”
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