David's Reformed Church Congregation

David's Reformed Church Congregation
Congregation of David's Reformed Church, Montgomery Co, Ohio, Circa, 1900

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Motivation Monday ~Lessons from the Seminar~ Preserving Your Family History

Lessons from the Seminar~ Preserving Your Family History

One week ago today I attended my first genealogy seminar. It was a birthday present from my husband and since I am not usually comfortable attending these types of things alone, I was a little nervous.  I attached my "First Families of Montgomery County" pin on my sweater, picked up my briefcase and walked into the meeting place, knees shaking a little. As I signed in,  I was happy to receive a folder filled with handouts from our speaker that would cover all four of his subjects for the day, along with many interesting product advertisements and notices regarding upcoming events.  Seated with others who already knew each other well, I introduced myself and passed out a few business cards.  I investigated the many "door prizes" on the table and kept my fingers crossed that I would win something, but I had my eye on that "Fold3" membership.  Then, the long anticipated meeting began.
Our speaker was Curt Witcher, senior manager for Special Collections at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana. What an interesting and knowledgeable speaker he is.  While I enjoyed all of the sessions of the day, I have to admit the last subject was the biggest wake-up call for me.  The title of this topic was This I Believe - The Urgent Need to Record Living History.   Curt discussed the amount of records that are being eliminated or even destroyed by governments and public entities and how we need to become proactive in fighting to stop these practices. But, just as importantly, we need to record our own family history. Many records are no longer being kept and with social media and text messaging, the art of letter writing is quickly diminishing.  I have written about this in previous blog posts and I have vowed to make it a point to continue mailing cards and letters as often as possible. But, Curt had something even bigger in mind. He challenged all of us to write 1000 word essays about our ancestors and about ourselves. What we write now may well be the only historical records our descendants have to learn about their family history.  He encouraged us to write journals about our typical daily activities and we discussed as a group writing letters to our children and grandchildren as a legacy to leave behind.   It was a valuable time of sharing ideas and I am grateful I was able to attend.  Even though I didn't win any prizes, I took away some new and exciting information regarding research, products, and new subjects about which to write.
In conclusion, let me challenge YOU to begin to write your own family history. It doesn't have to be an epic and it doesn't have to be 1000 words. Just start a little at a time and write about the family members and events you remember; your mother, your father, your grandparents. Write about favorite vacations or traditions you have on holidays. There are inexpensive journals that you can purchase at discount stores or you can type it on your computer, print it out and put it in a notebook.  Even if you just write one sentence a day, start it today and make your story, your legacy.  I am certainly going to try.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Lost Marriage License

One of my favorite shopping places is an outlet store for one of the major national charitable organizations here in town.  What makes this store different is that at just about every hour, people line up waiting for a new series of long, deep "bins" that are rolled out in front of them.  Each bin is covered with old blankets and when all the bins are in place the customers are allowed to (literally) rip off the blankets and tear into the items located in the bins.  Believe me, this is not an orderly process!  The minute the covers are removed everything goes flying.  It isn't uncommon to hear the sound of glass breaking or even arguments breaking out over popular items found.  Anything under the sun can be found in these bins and I have been lucky enough to purchase some lovely items and many toys for my grandchildren.  I have found countless books and old records and some things I have even been able sell to make a little extra money.....to use at the outlet store!    But, I am always on the lookout for any type of historical documents that might need to be reunited with a family member.  One day a few weeks ago I found two high school diplomas and one marriage license.  The diplomas were both still encased in their protective folios, but the marriage certificate was loose in the bin and destined for destruction amid the dirt and chaos of it's location.  I just knew I was supposed to find it.  I picked it up, along with the diplomas and I placed it safely inside one of the folios, and purchased it along with the rest of my "treasures".  A few days passed before I had time to even look for a possible family connection. Sitting down at my computer and beginning with Ancestry.com, I entered the listed groom's name and I found a match in records here in Ohio.  There was a link to a findagrave.com memorial and the information seemed to be a perfect match!  From there I sent a message to the person who created the memorial who luckily appeared to be a relative r and not just a volunteer for the website.  I also did a lookup on Facebook and found the same person listed, so I sent a private message, explaining that I thought I might have a marriage license for their family member.  To my delight, I quickly received a response from a lovely lady telling me that the license did indeed belong to her great uncle.  She sent me her address and I was able to put the certificate in the mail the next day. What a joy it was for me to be able to place that certificate in protective hands!  Not only that, I now have a new Facebook friend!  She posted her version of the story on her Facebook post, along with a photograph of her uncle.  I asked for her permission to share her post and she agreed. This is a portion of her post:

When I first became a member on Find a Grave Website  I visited celebrities pages about putting greeting flowers on their pages.
Even so that I really didn't knew them in real life, but I did watch them on TV or the movies or to hear their music.
I also begin to created pages for our family, and friends, and their families too.
Well anyway that I have been a member for 5 years now, and last week that I received a message from another member on there.
They have ask me ab
out do I know someone name James W. Kildow, lll well of course that I did reply back to their message.
It's turns out that they had recently found, and purchased a marriage license from Goodwill in Dayton, Ohio but they kept it from being destroyed.
And they sent it in the mail that next day. I ask them about to owe that person for anything. Then they had said no, but they was so happy to find the right owner.
I did received it yesterday, and as I was looking down at bottom of the certificate that I have notice that another Uncle name was on it.
Great-Uncle Karl Kildow to give the bride and groom away to our Great-Uncle Jim.
Even so that my Mom (Sarah) and my sister (Marian) and I never ever did meet him in person that I had tears in my eyes not only to have something meant so very special to my family. But a totally stranger to take the time out to care about another person. 

I have had several opportunities over the past few years to reunite documents with their owners or family members and I can't tell you how much joy it brings to me to be able to do so.  I have written about a few of those occasions on past blog posts.  I am so glad I went to the outlet store that day and I am even more happy that this certificate is where it belongs!