Fall woods

Fall woods

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Buried Treasure

On my dad's side, I've been the keeper of the family history for some time.  (Several years back, my aunt sent me all the family documents she had after a health scare, and a remote cousin of my dad's shared what he had around the same time as well.)  I have family trees on ancestry.com for both sides, but haven't had much of anything by way of documentation or pictures on my mother's side till very recently.

Every so often, I get on a genealogy kick and spend days on end updating the family tree in my spare time.  The last time I did, a month or so ago, to my great surprise I found a reference to pictures of my maternal great-grandparents, the first I'd ever seen!  Technically, notes that they had been uploaded but weren't available for public viewing.  Crossing my fingers, I sent a note to the owner asking if she could possibly share the pictures with me.  She is a second cousin once removed of mine, which I determined by consulting one of those relationship charts used by family attorneys since I can't keep that stuff straight in my head.  She very kindly emailed me the pictures and the information that she had, and together we found my great-grandfather's death certificate and filled in some missing blanks in the stories surrounding his death, including which one of my great-grandmother's brothers was the attorney that (family legend says) stole whatever money she had left from her after her husband died!

Turns out that she got those pictures from somebody else she'd encountered on ancestry.com, my mother's cousin.  I'd heard her name, but my mother hasn't seen her since both women were very young: the families weren't close.  This cousin of Mom's must be in her early 80s now but seems very sharp.  After a few email exchanges, she asked for my address, and told me that she was going through her mother's things (her mother and my grandfather were siblings) and wanted to mail me some pictures.  They arrived the other day, along with some funeral Mass cards and a wonderful newspaper clipping from 1956 about my grandfather's boatbuilding business, which included a picture of him that I've never seen before.

My grandfather died when I was six, so I don't remember him well and had only ever seen a few pictures of him.  I was in my early twenties when my grandmother passed away, and we were very close, but she was in her mid-sixties when I was born, so I just wasn't around when she was a young(er) woman.  Imagine my joy at being presented with a pile of family pictures of my grandparents when they were about the age that I am now!!


I scanned these two in immediately to share with the family.  The three girls in both pictures are my mother (the youngest) and my two aunts.  They are joined in both pictures by my grandparents, and in the picture on the left also by my great-grandmother, the victim of the intrigue after her husband's death.  It sounds like she was one hell of a strong and resilient woman, and I'm sorry I never had a chance to meet her.  I've heard a lot about her over the years.

So, in a nutshell, a website connected me with a second cousin in California who connected me to a first cousin in Michigan who sent me pictures taken sixty some-odd years ago in Pennsylvania, which I have now shared with my parents in Oregon and my aunts in Ohio and California, all without leaving my home office!!  I love technology.




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