- letters from a great-uncle with historical details: names, dates, places, occupations,
- a copy of the first page of the Application for membership in the State Association of the Daughters of the Pioneers of Washington, which confirms greatgrandparents' names and maiden names,
- a meticulously-printed detailed pedigree chart on 4 pages written out very clearly by her father,
- memorial cards from funerals of greatgrand-relations,
- more details from a grandmother's 'family notes', with listings of births, marriages and deaths from 1700s,
- copies of several sheets of a Family Bible, plus a 1980s statement about another family bible of the 'other side' of the family (which clearly a cousin has somewhere).
Saturday, October 20, 2012
Gasp! GENEALOGY TREASURE!
I'm completely thrilled. Down to my marrow.
Recently, I've been helping my best friend research her father's family as she recovers from surgery. It's been a bit of a slog, although I do always find it exciting to search for other people's family ancestors. In this case, there are mainly single living descendants in the past few generations, or married but no children or only one child, so very very few cousins or others to search out information.
Yesterday she started digging into a grandmother's "old box of stuff" that she had carted around for a decade or three. What did she find?
"I knew you'd be thrilled," she exclaimed gleefully as I started poring over these sheets with many "oh! look at this!" and "Yeah - there's his middle name - I knew I had the correct man here - this helps with confirmation!" Plus of course, as I mentioned anyone's name, she'd remember a little detail about the person... like the place in Washngton where he'd received his law degree. Or the market in California where her great uncles lived. Or that her greatgrandfather was a wonderful musician and taught music at one point. I grabbed paper and started putting all these new details down. So many stories. So many memories waiting to be tapped.
Don't you love the thrill of going through this kind of unexpected treasure? The fact that it's not even my family is irrelevant. It's golden. Wonderful stuff. I can hardly wait to dig through it all, and do more research with these new details of her ancestors. We're already talking about putting photos on her family tree, after I showed her my own family tree with photos going back as far as I can go at present with photos. More wonderful treasure.
Genealogy Treasure-Hunting 101:
If your closest ancestors are not living, find out who in the family has the boxes, albums, and letters etc. in their basements or attics or closets. Someone has them. There's always someone with those boxes or packages or envelopes. You just have to find them before all that treasure gets thrown into a dumpster by someone who isn't interested in family history. Get started finding that person, now!
Family, friends, and others - I hope you enjoy these pages about our ancestors and their lives. Genealogy has become somewhat of an obsession, more than a hobby, and definitely a wonderful mystery to dig into and discover. Enjoy my writing, and contact me at celia.winky at gmail dot com if you have anything to add to the stories. ... Celia Lewis