I started this post at the beginning of COVID shutdown 2 years ago, but never posted it. Since I'm trying to post every thing so it doesn't ever get lost, and post more regularly I've added to it and am posting it today.
I'm taking classes with the National Institutes of Genealogical Studies in Toronto. The online courses are the first courses I've done on-line as opposed to seminars and/or conferences... It's a little different, but even for someone who's been doing genealogy as long as I have (over forty years!), I'm still learning things! Many of my friends are wondering why I'm taking the Certificate degree-- after all, they think I'm magic at doing research and family history... but I'm largely self taught and attended many conferences and classes and it would be nice to have the letters after my name (OK ,OK, my ego's showing!). I hope that I can finish the whole course soon!
The first "Treasure Find" that is so great is a letter written by my fifth great grandfather and his wife (Squire/Esquire and Mary Bowen Ide) to his widowed sister Esther Ide Bowen in 1806. from this there are 2 important lessons:
Lesson 1: It really pays to blog and keep queries and posts on many sites!
Through one of them I was contacted by a distant collateral relative who possessed the letter and was willing to sell it to me! I have added a page with the scan of the letter to the blog (see tabs above) as well as a transcription of the letter. Not only does it tell a little of the life of this family, it mentions the death of the son (named Squire after his father), adding years to the estimated death of Esquire Sr. by making the 1810 and 1820 censuses refer to him rather than the son! Wow--- my ancestors are really looking for me! I loved the spelling and lack of punctuation! Now if I could only find a letter or Bible to help with my Burton or Fairchild lines...
Lesson 2: Never believe that you have looked for all the documents available, or that no records exist.... I wonder how many people have letters or diaries in their attics and don't even know it?!
An extra bonus is that I'm now a footnote in a book, as the details of the letter will be used in an upcoming book of the descendants of Richard Bowen, who was Mary Bowen Ide's ancestor!
The second treasure happened as I was unpacking the first (!) of thirty or so packing boxes that contain family memorabilia that I inherited form my parents that haven't been opened in about 15 years. They contain stuff from my paternal grandparents as well, and until we moved to Texas, I had nowhere and no time to even start sorting through them. But with COVID enforced shutdown, I had no excuse to ignore them any longer! I shudder to think of how long this will take! Here's the before picture to keep me honest on how long it takes to finish!
In that first box, I found photos and a scrapbook and souvenirs that my Dad saved from when he attended the Boy Scout Jamboree in Washington DC in 1937 when he was 14 years old. It was so much fun to look at, that I didn't get much else done today, so this task may take a very long time!!!!