My blog has been changed to make it more appealing for those who have New England ancestors and want to see the area through photos. Things I’ll include are typical white New England churches, libraries showing their genealogical collection, historical societies, cemeteries, war memorials, in general, anything to do with history.

For four years I’ve blogged mostly about my personal genealogy in New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire), New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. I still will, can’t forget my own roots.

Please check out the labels on the right side for articles. The header tabs at the top are a work in progress.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Advent Calendar : The Best Christmas Gift (DAR and Genealogy related, of course)

It was in December, and I had only been working at the DAR for about a month, but when she walked in, I was soon in shock. I was presented a large white box about 20" x 14" and tied up in a big red bow. What could it possibly be? It was as light as a feather, and when I shook it, there was a rustling noise inside. With my few quizzical looks at her big smile, I realized it was indeed for me. A quick pull on the ribbon and pushing apart the tissue paper revealed a mass of papers. Some not the least familiar to me. She had done generations of research on my family! A few weeks earlier, I had provided her with a six generation ancestry chart, done by who knows whom in my family, which showed most names and years, but there were also lots of blanks. It was all she needed.

My very new friend had spent a lot of time doing my census look-ups, not on mind you or a computer, but by the old fashioned method. She made some actual copies of the censuses and a timeline of censuses for a good many ancestors. Some I never heard of! I can't remember how many sheets she did, but I am showing an example below. I am so glad I saved a few of her original work. I hadn't even gotten to that point yet in my research, so she had to explain the timelines. Where we worked, all the censuses for New England were housed in one room, so she didn't have to leave the building. Except for the 1920 for Evanston, Illinois, which showed my father at age 1, that she made a special trip to the NARA in Washington, DC. I was indeed blessed to have this genealogist friend do this for me.

In addition, there was a 27 1/2" x 24" ancestry chart, for nine generations filled in with all the information she found; names, dates and locations! There were no genealogy software programs back then. Looking back, I marvel at her dedication and all the time it took to do this. Almost immediately, I made copies of each section of the huge chart, constantly reducing the size, and then taped it together. Eventually, I got the chart to a 8 1/2 x 10 size, which I carried with me for years, as my point of reference, copy is above.

For many years, I kept the box, but three years ago, it just fell apart. However, I have her original chart, my small reduced one, and several copies of her timeline of census records.

It is indeed the best gift ever, something totally from the heart, and didn't cost much, except for her hours, and hours and hours of time. Thank you Ann.

In the past 21 years, I have run into her at a national genealogy conference and at least three times at the NEHGS library in Boston. I am sure she has never forgotten that gift to me either.
Originally posted December 10, 2009


Carol said...

That is such a special gift!! Congrats on the shout out over at Greta's bog this AM

Brenda said...

Oh, wow, Barbara! What a great gift and to hear the gratitude in your posting is great. I have always said genealogists are the nicest people. Now, if only I was related to your ancestors!

Barbara Poole said...

Thank you Carol and Brenda. This is my all-time favorite story. Carol thanks for the heads-up, now to visit Greta's Genealogy Bog.

Lucie LeBlanc Consentino said...


That is such a nice testimony to a good friend who though enough about you to do something special.


Nolichucky Roots said...

Truly an amazing gift - and given the time she spent preparing it - beyond value. Enormous generosity.

Joy B said...

Hi Barbara! This was a wonderful Christmas gift indeed! I’ve enjoyed reading your blog, too. I’ve awarded you the Ancestor Approved Award! Go here

to collect your icon and display in the side bar of your blog.


Joy B

Barbara Poole said...

Lucie, Susan and Joy--Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I was so fortunate to have her as a friend. And Joy, although I am appreciative of the award, I decided from the very beginning not to accept them (please see my Awards label), so thank you and I will make mention (with your blog) on my Looking Back post on Dec. 31st. I hope you can understand.

Greta Koehl said...

I'm glad that you posted this, Barbara: it reminded me that I have a couple of cousins I need to remember to write to thank them for the family histories that they have made available to us relatives. Acts of genealogical kindness and family histories done by relatives are such great gifts.

Lori said...

Oh Barbara, what a precious gift and a very special memory. I can imagine just how excited you were when you opened it up. What a Merry Christmas that must have been!

Bill West said...

What a fantastic gift, Barbara! And what a wonderful person that is to have done that
for you!