Thursday, January 24, 2013

Serendipity Moments Highlights of This Week

This week has been full of serendipity moments for me. What brings this about probably is my trying to recover from the potent viral infection that seems to be attacking everyone that I know. With teaching classes on Tuesday the 15th, Saturday the 19th, and Tuesday the 22nd, by Tuesday my voice had pretty much played out. I think that I pushed my limits and by Tuesday evening felt pretty miserable.

The nicest thing about staying home for some R and R, is there is time to do the simple things like reading books, writing articles, abstracting records, and other activities that do not require my voice. Enjoying the quiet moments when the cough would not allow me to sleep, I worked in the stillness of the night. Some of that work entailed abstracting the 133 pages of a Civil War Pension File that came the week before. Then I received books from two people. After working on the computer for a period of time I need to switch to another activity and reading is a great alternative.

The first book I wrote about in my last post. The second book was sent to me by someone searching my same Tidd family. She connected to the post I wrote about our ancestors in a link doing a google search and read it from this blog. The book, The Mayflower Bastard, written by David Lindsay, is not really a genealogical based text. It might be more considered a historical novel. With little documentation of the material within, it only provides a possible glimpse into the life of Richard More and the early settlers of New England. The serendipity moment comes from the events and how very little we know historically of this time period. A very big thank you to Holly for sending the book to me, from Massachusetts to Oregon. Someday I hope to meet her in person as I walk through the historic places of my ancestors.

The next serendipity event came when my friend Janice called. We had been working on getting the coroner's report for a relative. Her first email asking for help came November 29. I did not get a chance to look on the microfilm for the indexed information until January 10. Then she went to work and contacted the local archives to determine where the records are located. Next she contacted the county archives, but was becoming frustrated, as they were not answering her phone message. We determined an email for them and they promptly responded.  The actual repository is the Multnomah County Records Program. She finally received all three pages in an email on January 15 and forwarded it to me. It is great to share her excitement in finding these records. While it did not provide much new information for her, she was able to validate information given to her by the family. It was fun following the trail and working together in forming a plan to hunt down the treasure, which provides those sweet moments in doing family history research. There was no charge for the records.

The next exciting event was being part of the successful research of another friend. She has worked for a long time on her family history and discovered that there was a court case file that could help answer an important question. Again it was a process of working through the courts after finding an index listing cases of probate records. The courts actually sent her a list of the files involving this relative and from there she choose to order one. Today she received the file of 136 pages, but this time there was a charge of $65. For the service provided she was more than willing to pay.

Then earlier in the week I received a picture of a family from a relative in Norway. He asked if I could identify anyone in the picture, but I could not. He mentioned that he several old photo albums and I responded that I would love to see the pictures if he was able to scan them. Yesterday he sent me the scans of 141 pictures, many needing names. Now we can work together using my family history database and our other connecting relatives to identify them. I will have lunch on Monday with one of those relatives and will take her printouts of the pictures. She does not do anything on computers!

This turned into a long post with the Serendipity Moments Highlights of the past week. Sometimes when we slow down, we come to appreciate the modern miracles of doing genealogy in our time. Making connections through a blog, a society, Internet connections, cell phones and writing old style letters, will surely enhance what we come to know about our families. Hopefully you will not have to get sick to appreciate the moments. If you do become sick, like so many are around me, take advantage of those quiet moments in recovery.
Stop to marvel at the serendipity in the unexpected discoveries in our family history research.

Final event, I won a door prize in the Legacy Family Tree webinar. Lately I have not taken the time to watch a webinar as it occurred, which one needs to do to win one of the prizes. There might even be a prize in your future if you can attend live. See their webpage for a list of upcoming class and archived classes still available.

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