What to work on when hitting brick walls
With new clues very elusive, my attention has been divided among the various branches of my tree, hoping for some big discovery that could really grab my attention and get me excited to discover new information. When I focus on one area too long with no new information, it gets very discouraging. That's when I "give up" and move to another part of my tree until the same thing happens there.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, I received an email from someone whose family is from the Ulm/Stadelhofen area (where my Panther family is from). He saw one name that matched one on his tree and said that the marriage information he had for this person didn't match mine. It ends up we were talking about two different people with the same name, from the same area and the same timeframe. His family did touch mine in other areas though and they were from the area whose church records I have a copy of. I got some names and dates from him and decided to see what I could find. For a couple of branches, the records died out early. Apparently the family moved there from another location whose records I don't have. For at least one of the branches however, we appear to have hit the motherlode of information. It also happens to be on his direct male ancestor line so we're researching his father's father's father's father etc etc etc.
While this isn't a line that is directly related to me, it is still exciting to find new information for someone. To be reading the old Latin church books and finding pertinent information regarding someone's direct ancestors is very satisfying. If I could make a living doing this, I think I could enjoy it. However, seeing how time consuming it is, I don't see how professional genealogists can make a living. To charge an hourly rate that could support me and my wife full-time seems like it would be astronomically expensive to the person receiving the resulting information.
Because of this, I do it for fun and leisure. The way I describe it is that everyone has a hobby. Some people enjoy crossword puzzles in their spare time. I enjoy family history research. The biggest difference is that I'm actually accomplishing something that means something to someone. In the meantime, I expect that eventually I'll have most of the families in these villages all mapped out so anyone whose family is from the area would have an easy time of finding all their family just with one quick query. Yes, that will take a long time but it's something to look forward to.