Week 38: Unusual Source
Vital records, obituaries, census — I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve looked at one of those! But they are far from the only things we can use in our research. What is the most unusual source you’ve ever used? What did it tell you? What question were you trying to answer when you found it?
I ordered and received my Grandfathers Military records, and they described his physical appearance – eye / hair colour, height, weight etc. Details of him that I didn’t know.
I was randomly looking through my Grandmothers Photographs that I have and came upon a piece of paper with Names and Birthdates, With that piece of paper was a newspaper clipping. The clipping was about My grandmothers Brother and His wife, The small piece of paper where the details of their children. I knew from growing up their names, but it was interesting to find their dates of birth. I was able to add another branch to the family tree.
My Aunt has been posting me screenshots of photos and a screenshot of the back with the information of who is in the photo. She even sent me a photo of Jack and I at her wedding that I have never seen before. (Ask on your socials who has a photo of you or your family that you haven’t seen, you may get some interesting ones back, but you may also get some amazing finds that you never knew existed). Sometimes these little nuggets maybe the pot of gold you have been waiting for.
I used to “Borrow” My Mum’s Birthday Book, it was like The Holy Grail of information, Births. Deaths, Burials, Weddings, Anniversary’s, everything. It was only tiny but the information it contained was incredible. I would transfer this information to my Diary’s but over the years have either misplaced them, or I just stopped adding it in. (But in going through what I still have I have found some interesting notes and dates). What I wouldn’t give to have that little book of knowledge now I am researching our Family History. (From what I can gather my stepfather had it, but it could be anywhere now).
In a way I guess that’s now why I add so much information to the books I have. Dates, Details, Notes. I have bought so many Family History Books, I print stuff out, I collect photos and try and add them to the books so they accessible to whomever comes across them later on. My almost 17yr Old Daughter isn’t all that interested in what I do, some days I ask myself why I do it. Then I still come back to the same conclusion of “Because I wish someone had done the same for our generation”. There isn’t many of the older generation left which is heartbreaking, once they pass away who will be left to carry on the memories of our ancestors?
Sometimes it’s those little notes on the back of a photo or in a book that can be the starting point or the key to the answer that you have been seeking on that person, it could unlock the mystery as to who they were.
I hope that you are able to find the key or the lock and piece them together.