|"Exploration" by gnokii; openclipart.org|
Recently several of our family spent some time visiting an elderly cousin. He brightened up seeing all of us, plus it was nice to spend time with him.
During our visit his caregiver showed us some family things she had recently found while cleaning out a cabinet. One item was a family chart, created in 1980, that listed the ancestors and descendants of Francis Smith Whittemore. She asked us to keep it so that it would not be accidentally thrown away or misplaced.
My sister-in-law and I looked over it and saw that the thirteen pages contained a lot of names and dates. This chart came forward through generations from the mid 1850s into the late 1970s, full of names and dates of children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, many of the names I had not seem before.
In a short time, we had a plan. I would take the family chart home, scan the pages, and then mail the original chart to the family member who is involved with our cousin’s care. I would also add all the names and dates listed into Family Tree Maker so that it can be more easily shared with others through a GEDCOM export.
It just goes to show that family information can come from the most unexpected sources, at a time or place you did not anticipate. The experience was a reminder that it is important to have some idea as to what to do with these new finds. Admittedly, it also makes me wonder what I may have stuck into a drawer for someone else to find in the future! The caretaker also said she would put aside any other family papers she might later come across. We are all on the same page with the plan.
One thing that definitely is staying with our cousin is an old, crumbling newspaper article about the 50th wedding anniversary of his parents. Nothing could match his smile as he looked with love at those familiar faces.