Arches at Glendalough 2009

Sunday, November 27, 2011

flea market finds

Last week  my husband and I visited the local flea market. A huge site, it is bustling in the summer and slow in the winter. The weather, a comfortable 65 degrees, made it an ideal day to walk the market.

A few years back we visited the same market. Browsing through a covered stall I found someone's genealogy research that was picked apart. Several items were from the Civil War era and included soldiers' letters. The remainder of the genealogy collection was divided into 6 binders which included cemetery photos from Philadelphia and card stock family group sheets. Although I couldn't purchase the letters (the vendor was selling some of them for $50 a piece!) I manage to purchase the six binders for $20. Later I read the binders and donated them-2 to the Burlington County Community College and  four to the Genealogical Society of PA. I can't remember the family names off the top of my head but they were placed in localities where the person had researched family members.

So on this sunny Saturday we returned to look. We hadn't been there in years-probably the day I found those binders- and decided to spend some time walking around. I found a pair of salt shakers for my sister and a Fenway Park postcard for my niece. We went to the last building to browse and was about to leave when I saw a small memorandum book. At first glance I wasn't certain whether or not to pick it up. But the tattered cover compelled me to browse through it. Immediately I recognized the genealogical value of it... a list of names and notations. I asked the woman how much for it. She asked $15 and I countered with $10 which she took. Her comment to me, "It's a fun book to look at. I think you were the only other person besides me who appreciates it."

What an understatement! I took it home and began to read it carefully. It contained a list of men who were hospitalized between February 1918 and June 1918...the tail end of World War 1. I have begun to transcribe it and will keep you up to date with the progress. I spent time this weekend researching the men listed on the first four pages and found some of them. It is written in several hands compelling me to believe that it may be from an army hospital from the West. Several men are listed on the 1920 US Census in Texas and the 1917 Draft.

At my husband's suggestion I will photograph the book so I don't damage it further. It will make it easier to transcribe and to toogle between screens. I don't know yet how I will share the information but plan to contact the larger genealogical societies for suggestions.

Stay tuned!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New clues to old reasearch

Yes! I've have not blogged as much as I wanted to this year.But I'm hoping to remedy that!

One of the most exciting things to happen these last few months has to be new clues to past research. Recently I was able to connect with a second cousin. His grandmother was the younger sister to my gr-grandmother. I tried in vain to find and contact him for 25 years but met with no success. Ironically his sister and my sister worked together for years! They never knew they were related! (My sister piped up afterwards that she felt that there was something familiar about his sister!) From pictures to stories he was able to contribute to my research tremendously. I never knew my grandmother-she died four years before I was born. I feel as if he has pushed aside a curtain and allowed me to peer into a window of my family heritage that I previously glimpsed through. We hope to meet each other in 2012 when we both return home for a visit next summer.

Another great find was a book titled, Swamp Yankee From Mystic. I picked it up at a used book store with the intention of giving it to my daughter's friend because her family was also from Connecticut. When I showed it to her friend, I happen to open to a page where the author's father purchased an old house. Lo and behold it was my ancestor's house! I was able to connect with the author's son who sent me pictures of the house! Ironically, again, I had just met him in September when I gave a talk to the historical group of which he is president.

My friend Audrey always tells me that when the ancestors want to be found they will let you know. Hmmm...