His name was Knud Jonsen. Born in 1760, he hailed from a little farm called Erland not far from Arendal Norway. All that we know about him comes from the birth records of his four children.

Knud's father's first name was obviously Jon. I have been searching for information about Kund's parents and siblings for more than three decades. I can show you on an online satellite map exactly where he lived, but I have yet to find any more information about him or his family.

Why am I interested? Because he is one of my ancestors. One of his descendants moved to Germany. One of that man's descendants moved to America and became my father. I began researching information on our Norwegian line even before being called to serve as a missionary in that country. Once I learned to speak Norwegian, I took responsibility for this line.

Progress was rapid at first, even before the Internet was commonly used for family history work. I was thrilled to discover that one of my ancestors who we thought was an only child had five siblings. But the names of my ancestors are extremely common. Finding a birth record of someone where year, name, and place match closely does not guarantee that they are the right person.

The truth is that most of our family history lines have long run dry. Almost every one of them has been at a dead end for a long time. This D-News article suggests that if you've been stopped on your family history research for some time, now is a good time to begin researching again, because oodles of historical records have been digitized and have become available since you last set your research aside.

I have done family history indexing to help make more records electronically available. And I keep searching to see if I can find more information from the records that have come online. But I continue to hit dead ends. Someday I hope to find more information about Knud Jonsen's family. Maybe it will work like this:

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