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April 30, 2006

Thanks for Finding Me

I'm going to use the January 2006 Ensign again for this month's LDS article. There was a neat story in this issue by a lady named Nancy M. Hopkins. The article is titled, "Thanks for Finding Me."

Thanks for Finding Me By Nancy M. Hopkins

I remembered my cousin Edward (name has been changed). His father had died in World War II when Edward was only two years old. Eventually his mother remarried, and her new husband adopted my young cousin. Edward’s surname was changed, and because his stepfather was in the military, the family moved from base to base until we all lost track of Edward.

Fifty-nine years later I was strongly impressed to try to find my cousin. I contacted several other cousins, but no one knew where to find Edward. Searching the phone book of our Ohio hometown, I found one surname similar to Edward’s. I sent a letter and received a response from this man saying he had an e-mail that included the name of a corporation in the East where Edward may have worked.

I went to the Internet and searched for the company’s Web site. Sure enough, there were Edward’s name and e-mail address! I was filled with excitement as I sent him an e-mail asking if he was my lost cousin. Finally a reply came: “Yes, I’m your cousin. I’ll call you later today.” As I read that short message, tears filled my eyes, and joy flowed from the bottom of my soul. After 59 years I had reached out and found my cousin. Maybe I could renew a family relationship that had been lost.

When Edward called, he told me he had really only known one father—his stepfather. His mother had spoken very little about his biological father, and the only remembrance he had of his father was his Purple Heart.

I gave Edward some information about his ancestry and told him that he was named, in part, for his paternal grandfather. He vaguely remembered his grandmother, his aunts, cousins, and me.

I sent Edward his family history. Some stories and photographs were familiar to him, but others were new—flatboat captains who plied the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans, early settlers in the Western Reserve of Ohio, Indian scouts, and a great-grandfather who emigrated from Ireland with his large family.

Last year I received a Christmas card from Edward, and following his signature he wrote, “Again, many thanks for finding me.” As I read that sentiment, I wondered how many of my deceased ancestors have felt the same way when I have taken their names to the temple and performed their ordinance work. When we “find” our ancestors and learn about their lives and their stories, it is as if we come to know them in a very real way. Giving them the opportunity to accept the ordinances of the gospel creates an eternal bond between us. I don’t believe I’ll ever perform another vicarious temple ordinance without thinking of Edward’s words: “Thanks for finding me.”

April 21, 2006

Genealogy Education

For those readers who teach classes on genealogy or plan genealogy events, there is a relatively new blog to help you with your genealogy education. The blog was started in December 2005 by Kenneth G. Aitken, Local and Family History Lecturer, Instructor and Researcher. He resides in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Here is a short excerpt from his biography on the site.

Ken holds a BA in Linguistics, and a Master of Library Science degree from the University of British Columbia. He has also undertaken course work in local and family history with Brigham Young University and with the University of British Columbia.

Mr. Aitken is Vice-President of the Genealogical Speakers Guild and a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists. Ken has been a professional genealogist for over 25 years, a genealogy librarian for over 20 years and an adult educator for more than 40 years. He is currently focusing on genealogical education.

Active in genealogical organizations for many years Ken was charter president of the Hambrook Family History Society and served for 15 years as editor of the journal of that society. With the Saskatchewan Genealogical Society he served as a branch chairman, a director and as second vice-president of the Society. In the Association of Professional Genealogists, Ken is a member of the publications committee.

I suggest checking out his site for tips on educating others or just educating yourself on genealogy. His blog is called Genealogy Education.

April 20, 2006

New Census Question Could Hurt Future Genealogy Research

A recent article in the Nanaimo News Bulletin of British Columbia shares a new question being asked by Statistics Canada. The census takers are now asking whether people want their census information released after a 92-year period. If people answer no to this, their information will be kept confidential forever. Considering censuses are a vital part of genealogy research, this could hinder many researchers in the future from learning about their ancestors.

Click here to read the full article.

April 19, 2006

PERSI - PERiodical Source Index

Kimberly Powell recently wrote an article titled, Top 10 Overlooked Genealogy Records. There were some interesting records included, but the last one jumped out at me since I've seen it somewhere before. It is called PERSI - The PERiodical Source Index.

For a good explanation of what the PERSI is, please visit Kimberly Powell's description.

The place I have seen this reference is at HeritageQuest Online. I have written about this website before and how you can access it for free with your library card.

It seems I need to start using HeritageQuest Online for more than just the Census Records. The PERSI seems to be a valuable resource as well.

It does look like you do have to pay to have the information sent to you though. I just tried to access a few different articles on some Bickels in my family and it sent me to this link for ordering copies. It could be a bit pricey.

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