Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Good Deeds (52 Ancestors #8)




For this week’s challenge, I chose to focus on the incredible generousness of genealogy researchers.  I was blessed early on with lots of help from others when I first started my genealogical searching in 1994.  I joined many different mailing lists and genealogy homepages for the various counties where I was searching for ancestors.  As I got familiar with using the different lists and pages, I began to request look-ups for various records.  I was so impressed with the graciousness of the other researchers.  As I slowly gathered my own copies of publications (i.e. Censuses, cemetery records, etc.), I joined the lists as a look-up volunteer in different counties for those who might benefit from the publications that I had.

I have found that with the growing use of the Internet, most records are fairly easy to find now, and requests for look-ups are pretty much non-existent.  I have my family tree on Ancestry.com and over the years I have heard from many other researchers, as well as myself contacting many researchers, to share and compare information.  The help that I have gotten from others has been invaluable.  I try to keep paying that forward by helping others as I can.

One of the best example of “good deeds” that I have experienced occurred about a year ago, when a Murphy researcher from Ireland contacted me to see if there was a connection between his Murphy family and mine.  We have not found a connection, but he did some searching for records of my Murphy family in Ireland and located the marriage record of my ggg-grandparents, James H. and Alice Reid Murphy, who are as far back as I go in my search.  I had only an educated guess as to when they married based on the birth date of their oldest child.  It was such a thrill to learn of the exact date and place of their marriage!! I had never been able to find that record and probably never would have.  Then my new friend went on and did some research on Alice Reid just out of the kindness of his heart!  Priceless.

Family members have also been very giving and open to helping me over the years with my searching.  Even those family members who had not been known to me (or me to them) have shared information and photos with me.  I will forever regret not asking many questions about family when I was younger, as most of my older relatives were gone when I began my genealogy journey.  Thankfully, some tidbits have remained and have led to some wild chases!  When I was young, probably around ten or eleven, I remember asking my grandmother who the O’Meara’s were…Mrs. O’Meara had been my great-grandmother’s best friend, and her daughter and my aunt had also been best friends.  My grandmother answered the question by saying that the O’Meara’s were “shirt-tale relatives” of my grandfather and the connection went way back to Ireland (which at that time meant about 130 years before).   Remembering just that comment helped me find the connection after I began researching!

I have a cousin who is the same age as my father and lives in Indiana where some of my father’s family was from.  Over the past twenty-some years, she has been invaluable, both in sharing her memories and going as far as doing research at the local library for me!  Such a gift!

All of this has been so inspirational to me.  I try to always “pass it on” with other researchers, even if it does not include my own family.  Being the recipient of such kindness must be paid back to others!  Good deeds indeed!

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