It is all good and well to search and find, through detective work, long-lost friends or relatives – and it IS exciting and very rewarding – but what about those you care about here and now?
A good friend just retired from many years of dedicated service in a Veterinary Hospital. We decided to make something that will evoke memories for her that she can cherish while at home.
Another friend and I collected up all her scrub shirts, cut them up and made a quilt, a pillow and a bag to hold them in. On the back we wrote out who it was from and thanked her for her work. It brought tears to her eyes when she received it. She can now sit in her living room, on her couch and just look on her lap and remember the good times and camaraderie. It also keeps her warm and comfortable – what more could you ask?
Here are some pictures, so you can do this or something similar if you like. I would like to hear what other ideas you have on this.
I was asked by a client to find out whatever happened to a cousin of his named Bud, who he had been very fond of. No one had seen or heard of Bud since about 1940. While doing my research, I found that Bud had a son named Conrad. Conrad was not known about by my client.
The flip-side of this story is that Bud was a father that Conrad knew virtually nothing about. He was told as a very little boy that his father had died. His mother and step-father took him one day to downtown Los Angeles and told him that he was changing his name. He was around 6 years old at the time and this was in 1941. This seems to have been an effort to keep him hidden from his real father.
He was told his name would be changed from Conrad Max to Larry Conrad (I am leaving last names out of this). He did not think Larry sounded very tough and protested this. In an effort to appease, he was asked what name did he want. He thought a moment and said “Jack”. So, he became Jack Conrad with a new last name.
A sad thing is that he grew up within a few miles of a whole family on his real father’s side that he never knew about – including my client. Both sides went about their lives for over 75 years not knowing each other, but yet, could very likely have crossed paths, they were so close.
Last year while searching for Bud, I discovered Jack by noticing an obscure reference that he existed in an unpublished book by someone who was writing about some ancestors of that family. I tracked Jack down through his birth date and other pieces of information and found that he lived within 45 miles of my house.
How nice it was to talk to him and go meet he and his wife. I was able to put together a little ancestry book for him that had photos of his grandfather (his real dad’s dad), newspaper articles about his real father, pictures of his father and stories of past and present relations. I introduced him to my client and my client was able to tell him things he remembered about his father – my client and Jack are actually 1st cousins.
I do not know where his real father ended up. The trail ran cold after he disappeared and assumed a new identity once he had escaped from the prison road camp in Trinity County, which was run out of the prison he was assigned to – San Quentin. No one had seen or heard of him since 1940 or so. Maybe one day, I will find out what happened to him.
It was with a sense of accomplishment that I was able to fill in some of the lifetime questions that Jack had about who his real father was, what he looked like and what really happened to him. He proudly keeps his ancestry book in his home and shares it with others.
Solving the little mysteries in life is a good thing…
WORDS FOR THOUGHT
“The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind.”
“Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.”
“One determined person can make a significant difference; a small group of determined people can change the course of
Working in the field of Genealogy has given me a definite perspective of life and, in the long view, a perspective against which I gauge my activities.
Do you ever wonder if what you do today matters? Many ads you see tell you that you only have one life to live and so they encourage you to do what you want to get the “most” out of life.
Well, without going into a big religious or philosophical debate, let’s just stick to what the words associated with Personal Pedigree mean and go from there.
PERSONAL: Concerning a particular person and his or her private business, interests, or activities.
PEDIGREE: A line of ancestors; a lineage. A list of ancestors; a family tree. A chart of an individual’s ancestors. This word comes from Middle English pedegru, from Anglo-French pé de grue, literally, crane’s foot; from the shape made by the lines of a genealogical chart.
GENEALOGY: An account of the descent of a person, family, or group from an ancestor. This word comes from Middle English genealogie, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin genealogia, from Greek, from genea race, family + -logia -logy; akin to Greek genos race.
ANCESTRY: A line of descent. This word is also Middle English: from Old French ancestre, from Latin antecessor, from antecedere, from ante ‘before’ + cedere ‘go’.
Okay, so if you strictly look at where you came from and where your line of descent is going, even if you ONLY cared for your own family, you would want to do the best you can do for yourself AND for who will be affected by your actions after you.
Let’s look at a broader scale and some numbers. It is a fact that John Alden and Priscilla Mullins, who sailed to America from England in 1620 on the Mayflower (and who were married in America in 1622) are my 10th great grandparents.
Do you know that you have 4,096 10th great grandparents? This means you have 2,048 10th great grandfathers and 2,048 10th great grandmothers. From the other perspective (and of course, depending how many children each subsequent generation has), a 10th great grandfather could have tens of thousands of great grandchildren. As a matter of record, one national society that keeps track of descendents of John Alden and their spouses, five years ago, had records of over 54,000 people!
Now, what do you think your actions of today mean when you look at the fact that there may be, down the line, 50,000 and more people who your present-day activities will affect?
What if John Alden never married Priscilla? What if he decided to not stand up for his personal rights and stayed in England? What if he decided to just look out for “number 1” and wasted his life and talents away while “having fun”?
That would mean that today there are over 54,000 people who could not proudly call themselves descendents of one of the most influential people who came to America. They could not look to their ancestor, pull themselves up by their boot-straps and muster up a bit more courage to carry on.
It DOES make a difference what you do today.
I would like to hear your stories on how your ancestors actions made a positive or negative impact on you today – and what you are doing or not doing as a result of that.
Email your stories to me at email@example.com - I may publish one or two of them on my website.
WORDS FOR THOUGHT
”If you want happiness for an hour? take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day? go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year? inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime? help someone else.”
“The lives and happiness of our children, as far ahead as the mind can reach, depend on us today. If we succeed, posterity looking back will record that this was indeed man’s finest hour.”
Carl A. Berendsen
“We begin from the recognition that all beings cherish happiness and do not want suffering. It then becomes both morally wrong and pragmatically unwise to pursue only one’s own happiness oblivious to the feelings and aspirations of all others who surround us as members of the same human family. The wiser course is to think of others when pursuing our own happiness.”
Welcome to On the Trail. I will try to keep things informative and possibly helpful to you. You may write me and ask questions or comment as you wish. I really am very interested in finding relatives, restoring strained relations and anything to do with uniting families.
As you can see, here I am in England. I am in the St. Michael’s church yard in Brierley Hill. I have just discovered a grave of one of my ancestors.
There is a wealth of history and culture about Brierley Hill and the surrounding area of Staffordshire – now known as The Midlands.
Did you know that they built canals (complete with locks) in the 1800s to convey goods made in the area to the coast so they could be shipped around the world? The boats and canals are still in existence and use for travel.
I would love to hear back from you!