The form I have been waiting for nearly a year to receive came in the mail yesterday. It’s Alice Miller’s Alien registration form.

That’s a long time to wait for a piece of paper.

A really long time.

Here’s what I was hoping to find on the record…

A specific area of Villinus, Lithuania she may have lived in, because that’s what the whole region is called. I hoped for a date she entered the United States, the boat she came on, and whether she came with family.

The reality of genealogy research isn’t like the neatly packaged segments on television programs like Who Do You Think You Are? Unless you are famous, or have the money to hire a professional genealogist, the search can be grueling to uncover the information you’re searching for about your ancestors.

I don’t want to discourage you from seeking.

Seek diligently.

There are moments of excitement during research. I have shed tears of joy making an important discovery.

I’ve had 2 AM moments with tears streaming down my face, because a volunteer in California uploaded Alice and Joe Miller’s headstones to It gave me the information I needed to know their death dates, in addition to where they were buried. When I started, I didn’t have birth dates, death dates or final resting places.

Those powerful moments of knowing are the moments we like to focus on as family historians. They are the exciting moments of knowing when finally, something important is revealed.

I don’t really like puzzles, and I am not the most patient person, but I persist. I continue to seek and search.

Even when I have frustrating setbacks.

Frustrating setbacks like ordering Joe Miller and Alice Miller’s death certificates once I had their death dates, and reading their parent’s names and places of birth listed as unknown.

Ummm, yeah.

That’s what I was hoping to know by ordering the death certificate.

It is hard not to throw my hands up in frustration, and want to quit searching, or move on to “easier” ancestors than my elusive Millers.

It can be challenging when that 1940 Alien registration record I’ve been waiting for finally comes, and it just complicates things by adding a third possible immigration year.

And it doesn’t have the name of the boat on which Alice Miller sailed to America.

And it says that she never filed first papers for naturalization, so 2 census records aren’t accurate.


I still don’t have the answers I’ve been seeking, so I’ll continue to search for #AliceMiller.

Yes, I totally made a hashtag for my great great grandmother, and have been using it over the past year on Twitter.

I heard someone say at RootsTech last month not to look at genealogy research setbacks as a negative thing. So, I’m re-framing my narrative.

I’m one step closer to finding Alice Miller.

When I find her, I will appreciate finding her that much more.

Genealogy Jen’s Challenge of the Week- Who’s your brick wall ancestor? What have you done to find them?

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