Saturday, September 30, 2017

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Good Genealogy Luck

I think Randy Seaver's luck has been a little better than mine.  In this week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, he asked his readers to write about a time that good luck happened in your research:

Your mission this week, should you decide to accept it, is:

When have you had a dose of good genealogy luck?  What document or resource did you find just by happenstance or chance?  By being in the right place at the right time?  By finding a family history treasure in your family's attic or basement?  By finding a helpful document or reference without even looking for it?  

(2) Tell us about it in Comments to this post, in Comments on Facebook or Google+, or in a blog post of your own.

For my own family research, I can't think of a time when I randomly came across a great document or resource.  I still don't have any real "family history treasures", much less one that I discovered by chance in an attic or basement.

But as Randy mentioned, some people have considered luck to come about because you prepared ahead.  From that perspective, my "luckiest" treasures came to me because everyone in the family knows that I'm the genealogist.

After my grandfather died, his widow (she was his third wife), who had no children, went to live with a nephew.  A couple of years after she passed away, the nephew contacted my father's oldest sister and asked if the family was interested in getting all of my grandfather's papers and photos that Adelle had brought with her.  Luckily, my aunt said yes.  She hung on to them for a while, then asked my father if he wanted them.  He told me he had them because he figured I would be interested in the information, and I was.  So I asked for copies — of everything.  He fiddled around with them for a bit before deciding that it was going to be too big of a hassle to make all those copies for me, so he just sent the entire lot to me so I could deal with them.

In those papers were records of every pay increase, commendation, promotion, and other positive feedback that my grandfather experienced in his career as a civil service mechanical engineer working with the Air Force.  Grampa also had created lists of every job and every residence he had had during his life.  I have learned a lot about him by reading through all of this, especially the list of residences, although I'm still trying to figure out how to research the two years he said he spent "out west" during the late 1920's.

Many of the photographs were of Grampa's second wife, Anita, and my youngest aunt, Carol.  I felt it was important to return those photos to them, which motivated me to track them down.  It took several years, but I finally found them.  Because I started corresponding with my aunt, eventually she got in touch with my father, which led to the four adult children of my grandfather getting together for the first time in their lives.  And knowing I had something to do with that is priceless, even if it isn't "lucky."

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