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February 8, 2009

The Joy of Genealogy

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!


Janet Iles said...

Good luck going through your mother's papers. Isn't it great that she got interested in the family history and you have this information to go through?

Tex said...

I DO wish you luck. I have stuff I packed up from my parents' home 10 years ago that I still need to go through. I admire your tackling it now.

Anonymous said...

I am a new reader of your blog this year. My condolences for your loss of your mother. Thanks for sharing your stories. I enjoy them very much.

Colin said...

I have a similar problem to you in that I have lots of files and folders of Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates notes to go through that my late father collected. He got the 'genealogy bug' quite late in life and in the last couple of years of his life, he and my mother took frequent weekend holidays in Suffolk visiting churches to go through their archives making copious notes as they went!
Now I have the 'bug' and I'm looking forward to the challenge of making sense of all the notes etc.!
Good luck with your task!

Becky Jamison said...

Here's my wish for your good luck, Lorene! So many questions, so many treasures, so many clues, such a gold mine you have there! Just enjoy the journey!