Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Event D: assist another researcher
As the assistant genealogist for The Denison Society, it is my job to provide research help beyond the checking of the lineage lines for membership to the Society. In this way, I help those who have questions about their already proved line or who need help with finding an ancestor. This is a new job for me. I assist other researchers all the time, like Carmen Johnson, Fred Burdick, Larry Chesebro and pretty much anyone who emails me! (Not as many as you may think)
Let me tell you about my recent project. At the yearly (August) Denison Family Reunion, we each took a turn talking about who we are and what we do. I went first but I didn't talk about my genealogy just my other job as ed tech consultant and writer. They stopped me and wanted to know what a professional genealogist did! After trying to explain that, each person had their turn. Many are retired and talked about their relationship with the Denison family.
Something happened that I have not been able to remove from my head. One of the older ladies talked about how she has been coming to this reunion ever since she was a liitle girl. (Wow) She is in poor health and did not think that she could come back again. A while later, she motioned me over and asked me if I could tell her which sons or daughters she is descended from!
It seems that in "the good old days", when people joined these types of lineage societies, someone sat with them and asked them about their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents and then looked up their line in the print genealogy book (in this case, the old Denison genealogy) and said OK, you're a descendant! That was it. The person never found out what lines they had or who they were. Imagine that!
I decided that I would "run her line" which means that I use the private database of names in Family Tree Maker format typed in by a previous genealogist, to find out how many Denison lines she has. This is EASY. It only took a few minutes. (But the records only come down so far, so many of us are not even in this database.) She may not know she is also a Stanton descendant.
I made an outline descendant report and got it ready for her. I also made this collage that appears in this post so she can take it out and put it on display (I printed it.) just in case she doesn't make it to the reunion next August. That way she won't be sad and miss it too much.
So, dear reader, I must go and finish this envelope I am making for her and get it ready to mail. Then, I have to research and write my last event...the biographical sketch. Stay tuned!