Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Best Gift - Ever!

Yesterday morning (March 31st) I received a phone call from one of my genea-friends ("J") that volunteers at the local historical museum. The staff and volunteers are in the midst of re-organizing and inventorying the collections they have in the attic of the annex building. Now, "J" and some of my other genea-friends are aware of some of the surnames that I'm researching in Whitley County and "J" said they had found something that she thought I would be interested in. Really, really interested in. I could hear the excitement in her voice but she wouldn't say anything else.

Well, I'll tell you, it didn't take me long to get around and head on into town. That half hour drive seemed like it was taking forever.

When I arrived at the museum, I knew something was up since one of the feature writers from the local newspaper was there along with a photographer! The excitement was palpable. Without saying anything besides "Hello" they escorted me into one of their meeting rooms. And there, sitting on one of the tables was a medium sized box. Written on the side of the box were the initials "H. F." and in parentheses "Brubaker" and I thought, those are grandma's initials - Hazlette Ferguson.

By this time my hands were shaking and my heart was beating so fast I couldn't hardly stand it. As "J" opened the top of the box, the photographer's flash went off right in my eyes, practically blinding me. Recovery was almost immediate though as "J" pulled out a piece of paper - it listed the contents of the box - it was incredible.

This wonderful, amazing box seemed to be the key to nearly all of the questions regarding grandma's research on her families! Here were pages from the family Bibles of James Joslin and Bela Goodrich and Peter Wise - listing their children and dates of birth and who they had married and when! And the original marriage certificate for James Joslin and Abigail Goodrich. And the original will of Peter Wise, which never got recorded in the county books. It shows that Jacob is indeed his son! And there were letters, too! I had a copy of one written in 1849 from Sophia (Hazlett) Dunfee to her son William but here were half a dozen more. And there were several to Lysander Joslin from his mother Abigail after she moved to Illinois in 1861.

There was so much in that box. Documents that grandma had collected from courthouses and archives, and more personal papers, and old photographs - and the photos were identified! I was absolutely flabbergasted.

Many times over the past 10 years I have silently (and sometimes openly) cursed my Grandmother for not providing the documentation for the information that was written down in her family group sheets. And here it is. To say that I was overwhelmed would be an understatement. Tears of joy were streaming down my face as I carefully picked up each piece of paper. And then, I thanked God, and my Grandmother, for this miraculous gift.

This post was written for the 69th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy: What if...

Ah yes, it is April Fools' Day!


  1. Now Becky that was kind of mean - here I was so excited for you and yes jealous too! Only to find out it was an April Fools joke - shame on you - (just kidding) Good one!

  2. Becky you had me fooled. Wouldn't it be great if something like could be found?

  3. Oh wow, you really had me going!!!!!! Evil, evil, evil....(but don't we ALL wish this sort of thing would happen to us?)

  4. AAAAAA! - sitting here with chills and jealousy and could not stop reading! Oh you tricky one! I agree with Patti - we all wish for a story like this! Good one Becky! You sure had me going!

  5. Aw geez! I was hoping it was true! Thanks for the great April Fools joke on all of us!

  6. You got me! I was feeling your excitement and almost in tears, I was so happy for you....ahhh, if only......

  7. Oh Becky, you had me! But jeez, wouldn't it be
    nice if it came true?

  8. Like everyone else, I've often dreamed of finding that magical box that holds all of the answers. Sigh. Do fantasies ever come true? I know dreams sometimes do but I don't hold out any hope that this one will every become a reality...

  9. The description is so vivid ... you must have imagined something exactly like this happening ... more than once, probably?

  10. I'd be thrilled if I went to sleep and woke up to find all my grandmother's photos with names printed on the back!

  11. A great story!

    I wish my much married Great-Granny had left such a box!

    Blast her hide! ;-D

    I've written about the complications this much married woman has caused me in my research, and let me tell you a box with all the answers would be very much appreciated right about now! ;-D

    The Mad Macedonian

  12. Becky, I missed quite a bit during the first half of 2009, when I was househunting and living at my dad's with no internet. Happened upon this post today, and I gotta say, like everyone else, I was almost in tears before I finally got down to the April Fool part. You sure know how to prank a bunch of geneaogists, don't ya!


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