GENEALOGY FRIENDS (week 35)
technically, my Genealogy Friends are strangers !!
People who answer a query over the internet when you think there is no answer possible. There they are with a simple explaination of where your ancestor got to and add more relatives to your tree and, if you're lucky, little stories or snippets of gossip that your ancestor thought would go to the grave with them :)
They go out of their way, cheerfully, to help. How come they know so much of what we cannot even find and then share it freely. Is it because someone helped them around their brick wall?
Some of these people 'disappear' after awhile and get on with helping others but some keep popping in from time to time to see how things are, just like those who pop into your home for a coffee now and then.
We share an interest. We have the same hobby and we understand that strange saying "brick wall"
A few years ago I had half a branch to a tree and was plodding along doing it the hard way. I put the little I had on Family Tree Circles and within weeks someone emailed me with so many descendants and ancestors that I could hardly keep up. The wonderful, exciting, bonus was the many wonderful, old photos he sent and said I could add them where I liked, he didn't even want credit for them.
"Meat on the bones" we call it :)
What a generous soul. He truly understands that although these people were his immediate family, they were also the extended family of hundreds of others.
The ultimate way to honour our ancestors lives, is to share their stories
I have many great stories of friends made through email, chat rooms and forums which started out about ancestors and ended up about us ...
My most recent 'friend' doesn't even know she is ...
It begins over 30 years ago when my father died a young man.
The whole time of death and funeral passed in a blur. People come and went but remain faceless, they said things I didn't hear but I knew were well meaning (as I have done to others). Because of this blurred time there is little memory of the event.
About 15 years went by. I had moved away from that town prior to his passing but now I was going to have to return and this meant I finally had an opportunity to go visit his grave
I stole a single flower from the garden at the caravan park I was staying at and made my way to the cemetery.
I couldn't believe how big it was? had it grown this big in 15 years? or was it always this large and spread out. Lucky that he was in the 'new area'. It was Sunday and no one to ask. How was I ever going to find him. Easy, I thought, I would walk back and forwards in the rows reading headstones and would not leave until I found him. I had a vague memory that at the burial there was a fence to the right somewhere. This should narrow the search!. A headstone had been erected in the past few years, I had never seen it but, without that, a search was useless
I walked slowly along reading the headstones. I saw many, many people I had forgotten about. Memories of them and their relevance in my life came flooding back as if last week, some sad, some funny. Old bosses, teachers, neighbours
Then it started to rain ... It didn't matter I thought, a little rain never hurt, I have to find him today, I might never get back to this town. I had no coat or umbrella (they wouldn't have helped anyway) because suddenly - the SKY OPENED !!! There was a sudden, violent downpour, it rained and it rained, like I have never seen. It was torrential. It was pointless to run for cover, I couldn't get any wetter. It felt like I was soaked through the skin, but I could barely see the headstones, it was time to give up ...
I left the flower on the nearest grave and left
Another 15 plus years have gone by and just by chance last month, I saw an offer on line from someone in that town, to take cemetery photos if anyone wanted. I wrote and asked her if she would mind taking one for me when, and if, she had time and gave her the plot number I found on the database.
The next day she sent me the photo with the comment "the cemetery's gridding system is shocking and normally headstones are hard to find, but I almost tripped up on his, I'm thinking he wanted me to find it"
I stared and stared at it. She could not know what she had done !!
A perfect stranger had sent me this precious photo. After 35 years there he is
I wrote and thanked her profusely saying that I had once looked for his grave but had never found it and that it looked very sad, very neglected which was to be expected as no family had been there for many years.
She replied that she was happy to have helped and that she would go clean it up, buy some plastic flowers for it and send me the photo once she has finished.
I am stunned !!!
Have you seen the movie Pay it Forward?
based on a simple concept (surprisingly, since 317BC) that instead of paying back someone for their kind deed, you pay it forward to a third party
Don't just use these genealogy sites to ask about your brick walls, jump in and help others with theirs
There is no way to know how much our help may mean
Any little scrap of info may just be enough to fill a gap they have
AND, you will make some Genealogy Friends, guaranteed
Maybe, for my new friend, what she did is her 'pay it forward'
52 Weeks of Abundant Genealgy
FUNNY ANCESTOR STORY
SOCIETY JOURNAL or QUARTERLY
PAST GENEALOGY RESOURCES
BIGGEST GENEALOGY ACCOMPLISHMENT
and there he is