August 10, 2009

Share Those Genealogy Treasures!

On Saturday there was an Elgie Picnic near us. It was a reunion for descendants of William Elgie, the first miller in Guelph Ontario circa 1832. My husband is a descendant. We couldn't attend the picnic but we invited two of our "cousins" to our home afterwards.

Diane (from Texas) and Mary Anne (from Ontario) joined us for dinner and long talks about all things Elgie! We pored over their binders of information on Elgie ancestors. My husband's mother joined us to share her memories of her grandfather who was yet another William Elgie. We spent several hours happily reading each other's notes and sharing stories.

We showed them our Elgie photographs, and then the surprise - we pulled out our newspaper clippings that my husband's great-aunt clipped and saved during the 1950s. The clippings were stories and photos from a local newspaper and involved all her Elgie relatives. What a wonderful treasure trove!

Diane's eyes lit up because she is the unofficial compiler of all Elgie information. Diane does an amazing job of gathering and organizing all the Elgie material that others send her (and that she finds in her own research). After compiling all the data, she makes sure every Elgie descendant knows about it by publishing it on a website. Information on living people is always omitted.

Diane and Mary Ann quickly sorted the newspaper clippings into two piles - one with all new data which my husband offered to scan and email to Diane. The other much smaller pile was information already known to them. Watching Diane's joy at finding this treasure which had been in my husband's filing cabinet for many years, it struck me that all genealogists need to go through their papers and share what they have hidden away! What better way to ensure that these treasures don't get tossed out or forgotten.

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