As I continue my unpacking of my mother's 11 boxes of documents, photos and miscellaneous items from her apartment, I find myself becoming easily distracted.
Each item makes me pause and reflect. What did this mean to mother? When and where did she get it? Why did she keep it?
Mother was the story-teller in the family and she often told me stories of her childhood and what she recalled of her grandparents. But she was never interested in the family history until later in life.
Her parents were both born in England and I would send her my findings on her family whenever I searched out something new. Then the genealogy bug hit her. She became fascinated at finding new ancestors and in 1997 at the age of 81 went with me on her first research trip -- to Salt Lake City, the mecca of genealogists!
When we found her Fuller family origins in Lenham Kent England in the 1860s but could not research further back because those records had not been microfilmed, she would not give up. Within a few months she had made arrangements with the vicar to fly over from Canada and research in the local church parish book.
She spent several days in the dark and damp church poring over the old church books that went back to the 1600s. Her journal reflects the difficulties she had reading the old script and staying warm. Of course with no photocopier she had to copy and write everything out by hand - a monumental task!
Now I find that her genealogy files are overflowing. How much of it is data I sent her? How much of it did she find and share with me? How much is new to me? It's wonderful that she was so enthralled with research and genealogy. But I have a huge task ahead to go through all her notes and hopefully make some new discoveries along the way. Wish me luck!