I began searching by using internet search engines, with some strange and amusing results. The name "Haning" showed
many pages where young people said they were "just haning around". The name Rice resulted in recipes. "Mason"
showed pages about the Masonic society, and "Petty" resulted in "petty quarrels".
The Mason family was a brick wall for me. Beyond my great-great-grandfather I could not find anything. Because
I knew I had a 2nd cousin named "Marna" who was connected to the Mason family, I put her name into a search engine.
What was the result? The Maryland Nudist Assocation.
Some good links did turn up. They were mostly to cousins who were also
doing family research. But one of those links led to a problem. I found a site where my entire family was listed.
All of my siblings and cousins were there and I knew I had not given that information to the person who created that site.
So I wrote and asked. It turned out that he got the information from a cousin who had asked me for it, saying, "I only
want this for my children." Aha, "We have met the enemy and they is us," as Pogo said in the old comic strip.
Some helpful people, relatives and strangers, offered wrong information. Several times
I was told that "George Mason" was a friend of George Washington. True, but that was not my George Mason.
I finally found George in a census record as "Geo" and "Daniel" in the Mormon family history
lists as "Danel".
Many cousins found me through the guest book here. They had some information that
I didn't have and I had some that they didn't have.
One cousin I "met" online showed my husband and me around the cemeteries near Paris, Tennessee,
where many ancestors lived.
My husband Jim offered to take me on a trip to find out what information was in the local
records. We did better than that. We found family. Not only the cousin I met online but another one we met
quite accidentally. Jim and I were driving around the countryside on our own, near where we had been told the old homeplace
was. We knew the house didn't exist anymore but hoped to find the place where it had been. We drove up to a house
where the family was sitting out on the porch and told them what we were looking for. It turned out that they were distant
cousins and had some genealogical records to share with us.