Once upon a time in November of last year I was stumped about my Stricklan line of ancestry. There was an Abel Stricklan (Stricklin/Strickland/Stracklin, depending on the source) in Virginia but he had no parents or siblings. It was like poor little Orphan Abel.
I searched through as many records as Family Search had to find more information about Mr. Abel, and since I thought he was our Civil War relative I was very surprised not to find anything besides later census records with no more information than I already knew. He was just a line end.
This week at our Young Women activity we got all the girls signed up for Family Search so they could start looking for their ancestors, and one of the ward members who was helping suggested again that if we couldn't find any documents to help further our line, we could try looking at ancestry.com, since people with an LDS account get a free membership there too. When he said tha,t I thought, yeah, I really ought to look there (especially since my friend Coppelia had mentioned it months ago and I thought I'd like to check it out then, but I didn't).
Let's sum up the next two hours real quick because the process of looking at, confirming, and linking records to your ancestors takes a lot more time than it would seem: I LOOKED and there were RECORDS of Abel at Ancestry.com, and once I put his father Samuel in, I got Joseph (his father) and Samson (his father) too. I got some more on the maternal sides of these lines as well, but it's going to take me a long time to catch up with the records I found. Those Stricklans have been 'Mercans for a very long time (which explains my dad's patriotism) (which is only a joke if you know my dad) (which is not to imply that he's super unpatriotic but if you don't get the joke it may sound that way) (that's probably enough explanation).
As it turns out, Abel wasn't in the Civil War (his son William was, whom I already knew about but didn't have any Civil War records for). I don't have any pictures of Abel, but here is a very happy looking William with his wife Nancy--and I think I see some of Calvin's/my/my dad's/my grandpa's cheekbones peeking up over that snowy beard.