Monday, February 25, 2013

A Serendipity Day

This morning my first stop was reading emails, while forestalling the plan to go out of the house. The cloudy gray skies were not very inviting. My plan was to take a friend to the Genealogical Forum of Oregon, in Portland, about ten miles from where we live. While reading, there was a post shared by Randy Seaver that mentioned a blog post written by Dawn Watson entitled, "Perfecting Society Publications." As one of the editors for the GFO publication, The Bulletin, this intrigued me. The article is impressive, and it really speaks to the heart of an editor. Many editors not only compile publications, but also write articles or columns. This is a serendipity moment for me, as it validates the volunteer work that we do. The article can be found at:
Digging in the Roots - A Genealogical Odyssey

After reading and sharing the article it was time to call my friend Marilyn. She was ready to go on our adventure and I picked her up about thirty minutes later. We had a nice drive into town even though the skies were gray and cloudy there was no rain. Traffic was backed up about four blocks from GFO as they are working on the new light rail line. As we crept closer we were wondering where we would be able to park. The next serendipity moment was finding the last available spot in the closest parking lot.

This was Marilyn's first visit to the new site of the GFO. By the time we got inside she felt totally turned around. Then our good friend Tom came walking out the door and greeted her warmly. For the next hour he worked with her in reviewing her family history research, providing tips and suggestions for further work. My first step was to check in, pick up a CD in my file, and return some books that had book reviews completed. While in the back work area I stepped in to say hello to our President Laurel and request some free passes to hand out at my classes. She was happy to receive the books. As always she was working on a project. Then I stepped into the printer's room and greeted Jim, who was preparing the recent printed version of The Bulletin for mailing to members. Later, as I thought about my being there by coincidence on the day he was doing that, it felt like another serendipity moment. It was wonderful to pick up the publication and glance through feeling the success of all the hours of work it took to bring it to completion. Now I wish I had taken a picture.

Once all of my to-do tasks were finished, it was time to think about doing some research. For one of my current research projects the stacks had two large history books for the location involved. In looking through them it became apparent that they should be checked out, but the thought of carrying such weight was a bit much. Using one of the new laptops, and searching on, the online version of one book was available. The second book was not online, so it came home with me. Every time there is an online version of a book needed for my research it feels like serendipity. Maybe we should come to expect this access more readily today, but it still seems like a modern day miracle.

Just at the time when we were both finished with our work my phone rang and our genealogy friend Cindy and her husband were ready to be picked up. As we walked outside it was obvious we missed a recent rain shower, but no rain came as we drove to our meeting spot. They flew in from SLC and took light-rail to the mall where we picked them up just after they arrived. After dropping them off at their home, Marilyn and I needed to have some lunch. We drove to Red Robin and had a wonderful lunch. By this time we were both tired and it was time to call it a day, a successful day in genealogy work. As we walked back outside it again was obvious that we missed a recent rain shower. The serendipity of the weather followed as I dropped her off and returned home. You might have to live in Oregon to realize how unique these events are.

The real point of this wonderful serendipity day is that often we walk a path in our research that leads us to these moments. It is even more fun when we share our walk with friends who share our common interests. As we left the GFO, Tom came to inquire about the item that I had been hoping to get his help with. Since we were in a hurry I left the papers with him and will anxiously wait to hear his thoughts on how I should precede. We help to build our societies by working with each other and inviting friends to join us in utilizing such facilities. For societies to succeed they need the growth of new members, support of current members and the wisdom of older members. We can help others to feel the serendipity moments as they find information on their ancestors.

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