The GeneaBlogie staff is a bit under the weather today, this last day of 2007. Nonetheless, I'm as excited as a kid at Christmas (Christmas? It's only 359 days away!). I'm awaiting the imminent delivery of The Greatest Genealogical Find Ever.
What possibly could be The Greatest Genealogical Find Ever?
Here's the story: as long as I have been aware of my extended family, I've known that my mother's sister Grace was not my grandmother's child. Rather, she was my grandfather's daughter and she had been raised by his mother in Louisiana after he left there for Kansas City in about 1920.
For years, I asked family members, "Who was Aunt Grace's mother, and what became of here?" The reply always was, "We don't know." Then there was a family story that Grandpa Eddie, Grace, and Grace's mother had intended to move to Chicago when Grace was an infant. As the story goes, Grace's mother died en route to Chicago from Shreveport, either in an accident or from some mysterious malady aboard a train.
In the last four years that I've seriously been studying genealogy, I've discovered many interesting and some surprising things about my family. But truth be known, little of this holds much emotional satisfaction for family members. Though intellectually interested, they actually care little about how many generations back I can trace the family or whether we're related to this famous person or that one. This is not to say that their smiles when I relate the latest discovery are disingenuous. Not at all. But what holds the greatest emotional satisfaction for them (and, indeed, I suspect for the families of many genealogists) are the discoveries of facts that solve (and salve) mysteries within living memory, the effects of which have burned so deeply that the nerves of the soul have been numbed.
Such discoveries are, as far as family is concerned, more important than any other sort of discovery.
The identity and fate of Grace's mother is just such a discovery. For my mother and her siblings, it may as well be The Greatest Genealogical Find Ever.
Every family has something that would qualify as The Greatest Genealogical Find Ever. Many families have more than one.
Grace was well-loved by her siblings and nieces and nephews. She passed away in February 2002, likely not knowing the identity of her mother.
I recently located a copy of Grace's birth certificate and today I'm waiting to receive a certified copy. It will be The Greatest Genealogical Find Ever for me (for the time being).
What's your version of The Greatest Genealogical Find Ever?