Thursday, April 4, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: Look What's Here!!

I opened my Olde Treasure Chest and what popped out? Mom!! She's my greatest treasure, in the genealogy sphere and otherwise! So today's post is about her and her love of genealogy since the early 1970s, the stories, and the ancestors... which she has shared with me. Lucky girl am I! So here are some select items from the Olde Treasure Chest, chosen especially for you on this occasion celebrating Mom.

Cute photo, isn't it? That's Mom on the right and her sister, Dot, on the left. Mom has a bunch of photo binders with old family photos and stacks of photos of us kids and our family. She and I never met an old photo we didn't like! I'm really glad Mom kept them all... and super glad that she wrote what she knows about each photo on the back. When I copied them over for my digital files I made sure to keep them in perfect order and get an image of the front as well as the back with Mom's notations. There are, amazingly, only a handful for which she doesn't know who the people are.

Here's Mom sitting on the front porch of the Kelly house on Main Street in Frostburg, Allegany, Maryland. It was 1938 and she and Dad were probably talking about getting married which they did the next year. See how happy she looks!
Mom is great with people. That's why she has so many long-time genealogy friends who were so willing to work with her to find what all could about shared ancestors. They pooled any and all with her as she does with them. It continues today as a new list of people seek her out for advice and information on finding their ancestors. Mom has a reputation as someone you can go to to ask any and all questions. She just looks like someone who'd be happy to help you, doesn't she? And she is.
She always went out to local meetings too and knows everyone in the area, and that is especially good because our ancestors have been in Western Maryland for a couple of generations.

There's Mom and Dad in 1942. Mom won't tell you this, but I think she likes finding her ancestors about 10% more than she likes finding Dad's! Shh, our secret;) But she remembers them all equally well and is happy to have any information about any ancestors. The more the better! Last year we decided that it was time to put her Big Tree with over 60,000 people on it on I called it Virginia Kelly's Big Tree:) It opened the door to even more contact with people looking for their ancestors, as well as people who caught a random and rare goof-up on a date or place.

Here's Mom just a couple of years ago. She'll be 95 in July and is sharp as a tack and has relatively few complaints. Shouldn't we recommend genealogy for longevity? I think so and so does she. But it should be a balanced approach between sitting for days on end exercising the mind as well as getting out walking those cemeteries and exercising the body.
A young genealogist called Mom two weeks ago inquiring about a relative and Mom asked her what computer programs she was using. The woman told her that she wasn't using a family tree program because she was afraid she's lose her work, Mom scoffed and said that's why you back it all up! I talked to the woman later who was still having a good laugh at the unusualness of a 94 year old woman giving her computer advice!
And Mom makes genealogy fun and exciting! Just this morning I was talking to her and she said something about the House Heirs Association and the big lawsuit over a land deal gone bad. I hadn't heard anything about this!! Mom's done so much research on all of our lines, no wonder she's always coming up with something new for me. Here's what one web site, no longer online, had to say about the House Heirs Association. Now doesn't this sound delicious? Can't wait to start working on this!
Welcome to a website I created to provided information on the House Heirs Association of years 1889 to 1923. The House Heirs at that time felt a real injustice had occurred on their ancestors, Andrew V House and his son John Valentine House, when the United States Government failed to make payment on a 99 year lease for a large estate located in State of Maryland. The organization held several meetings around the eastern and mid-west states, appointed several investigation committees and asked all House Heirs to submit their family ancestry lists, if they felt they were related to John Valentine House. Many House families of the time submitted letters, some up to six pages in length, when making their claim. The letters will be listed as found in the files, and I hope no one is upset if a House relative talks about their family. They all meant good and saw a real opportunity to have a better life, as most had experienced a difficult time around the turn of the century.
Mom has documents from one of those House Heirs Association meetings about 1900 or 1910 held in Ohio and you just know I'll be all over them when I go see her next! "Oh, yeah. That's in my file," she said nonchalantly.
Mom: I want to be her when I grow up!
Treasure Chest Thursday is a blogging prompt of GeneaBloggers.

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