CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

July 5, 2011

Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness


CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

RANDOM ACTS OF GENEALOGICAL KINDNESS

     While doing genealogy, I have discovered many truly kind researchers. The first random act of genealogical kindness that I experienced amazed me.

     My husband and I were on one of our first visits to Lamoine, Maine. We stopped at Shore Acres to speak with its owner, Chuck Hemingway.  

     Shore Acres is a bed and breakfast on property once owned by my ancestor, William des Isles, grandson of settler Louis des Isles and his wife, Mary Googins. William operated a massive dance hall on the premises.

     During the conversation, I mentioned a home more inland on the road to Ellsworth. It was owned by my great-grandfather Allen Walker. Noteworthy was a boat, the Arabella, he’d built in Quincy, Massachusetts, and sailed to Lamoine Beach each summer.

     Suddenly Chuck, a post card collector, excused himself from the dining room table he was sitting at. He disappeared for quite a while.

      “I found this,” he said, handing me a post card in a protective sleeve.

     I was amazed. It was a post card featuring the Arabella:

     “Oh,” I said after a few minutes. “Could you scan this for me?”

     “My scanner is broken,” he informed me.

     I became daring. Finding something valuable does that to a person.

     “Would it be possible…er…may I take this post card to our hotel room, scan it, and bring it back to you?”

     “No,” Chuck said emphatically.

     Oops, I thought, I’ve overstepped my bounds. I just met this man, and I just made an enemy.

     Chuck then gave what I refer to as a pregnant pause.

     “No, you cannot take this post card and scan it and return it. I want you to take it, and scan it, and e-mail me the scan. You keep the post card. It belongs to you. It was your grandfather’s boat.”

     Shortly, our visit ended. Later, I’ll create a post on a time I returned the favor, doing a random act of genealogical kindness in the fashion I learned from Chuck.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

     Later I found myself at the Ohio home of David Walker, whom we had determined was a fourth cousin on my maternal side. He had three out of four volumes of a family Bible. We were exchanging genealogical information. One of the pieces of information he showed me was an article on his grandmother’s fiftieth anniversary.

     “I have something here,” I said, pulling out a well-preserved eight by ten photograph, the very same one that was in the newspaper.

     “We can scan a copy for me,” he said.

     “No,” I said emphatically, repeating Chuck’s style. “We can’t”

     David looked at me, puzzled.

     “We can scan a copy of this photograph for my records,” I continued. “You are the proper possessor of this photograph.”

     He was grateful.

     And me…I had just passed forward an act of genealogical kindness.

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~

     My advice to you? Participate in as many acts of genealogical kindnesses as you are able. That’s what it’s all about—sharing and increasing our knowledge of our heritage. This is a website promoting passing on random acts of genealogical kindnesses: www.raogk.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

 ADDITIONAL READING:

IN SEARCH OF THE ARABELLA: A Story of Two Boats

YOU MEAN THIS NEW ENGLANDER IS A WESTSYLVANIAN?

GENERATIONS OF BLESSINGS #26

RIGHTING A CIVIL WAR WRONG: A Gravestone for a Civil War Veteran

THE OVENS on Mt. Desert Island, Maine

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