If you do family research for any length of time you will probably encounter what I call the "meeting in the middle" conundrum. You have ancestors of whom you are sure of and you want to connect them to people you hope are their ancestors. The problem are those people in between. There is always a generation or two who are hard to find and records are scarce.
My husband's great grandmother was Mabel Risheill, her father David Oliver, his Joseph Oliver. That I know. I also know that Joseph Oliver was born in Pennsylvania. At the time of his birth there was a whole passel of Rishels (the spelling has changed over the years) living in the state. According to ancestry.com most, if not all, of these Rishels are descendants of one man, Johann Heinrich Rischelle.
Johann was born in the Alsace Lorraine region of France. This area has been traded between Germany and France for centuries. Johann was of German descent. He came to the American Colony of Pennsylvania with his two sons: Heinrich Ulrich Rishel and Johann Michael Rishel. Each of these sons married and had many, many children. In fact both men had children with the same names, oh joy, let the confusion begin.
If I went strictly by ancestry.com and the web I could say that Joseph Rishiell was the son of David, who was the son of Leonard Rishel. But, there were two men, first cousins, named Leonard. One was the son of Heinrich and one of his brother Michael. One was a soldier in the American Revolution, one married Magadelana Hittle, maybe the same man did both, its hard to tell.
The problem with all the trees I have looked at is that not a single one offers any documentation. In a message board reply to someone looking for info they were told to see a family tree on genealogy.com. But the only source they list was someone else's tree and that is just not acceptable. So for now I am stuck with the top of my tree and the bottom of my tree and the unknown middle. I am hoping that someone out there can help me put it all together, with documentation of course.