Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Paper and more paper

Several years ago my grandmother was placed in an assisted living facility and I was lucky enough to receive 8 large boxes of her 40+ years of genealogy paper work and research. But not just her paper work, everyone on both her side and her husband's (my grandfather)side who ever picked up a pen and wrote down something about their family lines.  This is a blessing I know, but wow, my grandmother needed a filing system and a stapler.

I have these wonderful, typed genealogies filled with pen marks where she would update her info, or add a spouse for a distant cousin, change a death date, heck sometimes she changed names all together. Just one problem, there are very few pieces of supporting evidence, or leads as to where the new info came from. Just dates and names and nothing to tell me how she got most of this information. I can tell by some of the note paper that some of the information was achieved via a phone call (I recognize the note pads that used to sit by the telephone), but I don't know who she was talking to.  One thing about my grandmother, she never hesitated to pick up the phone and call a complete stranger who she thought may have some family information for her. Another problem with these typed trees: they were never stapled or clipped together. I'm sure they were in order at one point, but after the boxes were spilled by the movers, then moved several more times before they came to me all sense of order has been lost.

There is some great source information: old copies of deeds and wills. Some very old handwritten copies of my gggrandfather's sermons and his old recipes for ailments, yes he was a doctor and a preacher. I have lots of old photos: tintypes, cabinet cards, and early black and white film photos. Some are not labeled some are, but I have them none the less. My ggrandmother's hand written practice copy of her DAR application is a real gem. I also have wedding invitations from 1880, death announcements from 1870 and loads of old letters, that I'm trying to figure out how and why they are with all of my grandmother's stuff.

I was informed today that there are several more boxes at my aunt's house and she will be sending them to me in the next month or so. Yeah, I think. As much sorting, indexing and filing as I've done on the 1st ton of information I'm still not finished and I don't know when I'll be able to get to the next boxes, though I'm super glad to have that dilemma.  I'm starting to think I need a bigger house, mostly so I can have a special genealogy only room (hubby says I may have to cut back on the number of books I bring into the house with all the genealogy paper that is piling up, that is a whole other obsession).

So, if you all hear screams of frustration in the next month or so you will know it is me; finding one more list of children, and no idea who their parents may be, or another photo of a headstone and no clue as to what line that person is connected to. But, I would not give up any of these scraps of paper or misfiled genealogies for anything. My grandmother worked hard to gather all of this information and I will work just as hard keep it all together and find the link in all of it.


  1. I am jealous! So lucky to have all these treasures! Good luck with your organization!

  2. Lots of reading ahead for you, but how lucky!! I would love to have a box of family notes!! Have fun!!

  3. Well, there is frustration and then there is ... good frustration. Even piles of paper with unsourced information are a great gift!

  4. What a treasure trove!! I hope you will share here more of your finds as you make your way through the treasure boxes!

    Have fun with your organizing!!

  5. Good luck with all those exciting boxes! And on a different subject... I have nominated you for the 'One Lovely Blog Award'. Rules for accepting the award are: (1)Accept the award and post it on your blog with the name of the person who granted the award and their blog link. (2)Pass the award on to 15 other blogs that you've newly discovered. (3)Contact those bloggers to let them know they've been chosen for this award. Please visit UK/Australia Genealogy to collect the 'One Lovely Blog Award' badge, which you can use on your blog when you list your 15 nominees.