Friday, December 16, 2011

Genealogy Serendipity Moments - Dreams and Visions

This morning Hannah was awake again at 7am. When a four year old is awake there is only one thing to do, get up! That is how it is at times when I am resting in bed after a long day and an impression comes to me about something that needs to be done, I have to just get up and write it down or I usually do not remember the thought later. To do lists in genealogy are a must for those of us who have memory issues. When one is researching several families at one time it is even more challenging.

One memory that came to me in a dream recently deals with something I have thought a lot about in recent weeks. My Olsen grandparents lived in Linnton, Oregon, on the hill overlooking the Willamette River. This was a place I frequented often as a child. It was a huge house with a long walk down the hill from the garage to the house. There was a sweeping back yard with filbert trees that we loved to gather nuts from. In the side yard there was a small grassy area and a small stream that ran the length of the boundary line. The other side was really just a small area up to the other boundary line. The front yard was very steep, not really a yard, but a terraced area with sections broken up by concrete bordered grassy areas. The steps down led to a walk way above the highway that passed down below, and beyond that the river. Snakes just loved to sun themselves on these steps and they still frighten me. Grandma just loved being outdoors and always had dandelions and buttercups to be picked.

Much of this was brought back to my memory as we interviewed my father's surviving brother on February 10, 2011. We used a copy of his family picture album that had once belonged to my grandmother, to introduce memories of the past. This was an important interview as my father passed away twenty years ago. My uncle has Parkinson's disease and his ability to communicate is fading quickly. It was difficult to understand him and so I took notes as well as recording the interview.

The dream I recently had involved the tall antique wind up, hand crank, phonograph record player with several records that was kept in the upstairs of this home. It probably moved up there about the time they purchased the old console radio. When my grandparents later moved to a rental home in town, this record player went in another direction. In my shopping ventures there have only been a few for sale. In the dream the record player was even more fantastic than I remembered and it only cost $238. Now if I should come across it some day I will have to find the money to purchase it, as it is clearly meant to be mine. The eight on ebay tonight cost from $300 to $800.

This same feeling came to me after my grandmother Haynes passed away on December 6, 2005. As the contents of her home in St. Johns, Oregon were sorted through I was given the opportunity to request a few things. She had a lovely home, with a main floor and a basement. I did not spend as much time with her as a child, but in her later years we became very close. They moved into this home just after WWII. It had been a church before, so there were some unique features to the home. Her glider rocking chair sits in our living room. The rocker, Christmas decorations and several other items from her collections are now some of my prized possessions. In this process I had a dream about two pictures that hung in her back bedroom. Much of what she had was bought in garage sales, but for some reason these pictures felt important. After I received them I noticed that they were stamped on the back, Copenhagen, Denmark, the place where her paternal grandparents were from. Now every time I look at them, it brings pleasant memories of her and the heritage that we share.

So, these dreams or visions have become key parts of the family history research that is done in the process of becoming better acquainted with our ancestors. They hold special significance and feel very personal. In the quiet of peaceful thoughts you may be spurred to search out or re-examine items or work in their behalf. Being in tune to them when they come is of vital importance. These are just two of many such experiences over the years. May you have these same experiences as you research your ancestors.

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