I have been working on my Family Genealogy for 35 years. There was a huge mystery that it took all these years to figure out & there is still one person that has seemed to fall off the face of the earth. I may never find out about her & she is the big link in the mystery. At first I could not understand why someone would let their 4 children be adopted out, but as the story unfolded I understood much more. Times were hard, Parents die, & things were not like they are now. 1886 was a very long time ago, but it shaped the future of my Family. If you, like me have been trying to figure out your Family history don't give up. I promised my Grandmother I'd try to find out about her Family & she died long before I could get any information. My Mother is now the only one besides myself & one cousin who would know anything.
Ask questions! When the older Family members are gone that information is lost forever. Record everything, keep notes, start folders & sub folders. Someday, hopefully, it will all start to come together. Also, there are alot of free sites for genealogy. You don't need to pay to find out about your own Family. And, one last bit of advice.....even if you think you're not on the right track, but something feels odd about names or dates print out everything. I kept going back to something I thought was wrong, but it turned out to be the missing information that sent me FINALLY in the right direction.