Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Importance of Clipping Obits

Several members of N.E. Alabama Genealogical Society are more than willing to take time out of their day, on short notice, to meet researchers at Nichols Library.  Leon Young does most of this.  Last Friday morning when we checked the email, there was a request for someone to meet them at the library,  here's the email.

My name is xxxxxxxxxxxxx, my sisters and I are in Birmingham and plan to visit Gadsden, AL on Friday, June 17th. We have travelled from California, Denver and Texas in search of information on our mother's side of the family. Before I was born, (around 1950) my mother and 7 of my siblings moved to Germany (my father was stationed there) and in the process of the move, the Army lost a valuable trunk that belong to my mother. In this trunk was all the contact information on the family she left behind in Gadsden. From this day forward my mother no longer had contact with her people. In 1965 she died and when my father tried to contact her family, he was unable to reach anyone. So we are on a quest to find this missing link. We went to the Birmingham Public Library today and found the name of my mother and her relatives in the 1930 census. We are attempting to gather information on the names we discovered and a kind librarian at the Birmingham Library suggested that we contact you for help. When I went on your website I noticed that you were only open on Thursday, but that we could make an appointment.

Please, please if you can call me and in anyway meet with my family while we are in the area, it would be such a blessing to us. We are so excited to have found the names of our grandmother and father, aunts and uncles, but have no clue on the next step. Please call me on my cell phone if it is possible to meet with you in the next day or two. Thank you so much".

Leon responded to their request.  Turns out there were five people who came to research, they were given books and the Smith family files, I think there are about 6 folders of them. A shout was heard, one of the women found a tiny piece of newspaper that had been placed in the folder.  It was a obituary from the Gadsden Times for one of their relatives.  The obit gave them family names they didn't know.  A further search of the relatives found in the obit led to a living family member still in Gadsden.  With Leon's help they contacted this family member and were able to go meet her later Friday afternoon.  Saturday  the society had another email.

"Hi Leon;

thank you so much for all your help today. Just wanted to let you know that we made contact with our family with the address on Allen Street. All of my mother's siblings are dead except the youngest son. He lives in Columbus, GA and plans to meet us in Gadsden tomorrow at my cousin's home (daughter of my mother's sister Kathryn) - we are so excited.

Thank you for meeting with us and opening the library up to us today. My sister Gloria will send you the pictures when she returns to California on the 28th."

Leon also met two other women Saturday to let them research at Nichols. They also had a very successful day.

Leon Young, we appreciate all you do for N E Alabama Genealogical Society.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Update on Alabama

April 27th, 2011 will remain in the Alabama News for a very long time.  We continue to loose citizens as a result of those terrible storms.  Our hearts go out to those in other states who have been hit by storms in recent weeks.   Strangers arrived in Alabama from other states to help, many without anything except their tools.  Facebook became the means of connecting those who needed help with those who could help.  The fierce rivalry between Alabama and Auburn football and the poisoning of the "Toomer Oak Trees"  spawned "Toomers for Tuscaloosa", on facebook.  What started out as a simple attempt to feed some of the people who were victims of the tornadoes, turned into a massive relief effort that is still ongoing.  Their efforts now extend to other states with supplies and volunteers.  Toomers for Tuscaloose had trucks of supplies and volunteers on the way to Joplin, shortly after the storms struck there.  TN and GA have also be included in their relief effort. 
Of course, we as genealogists understand how far reaching families can be.  We know that in the early days of our nation neighbors help neighbors.  In the middle of all this tragedy we seem to have remembered our roots and stepped back in time.  Once again neighbors are helping neighbors.  If you are reading this, remember to keep all the victims in your prayers and if you have the opportunity make a donation to the relief and rebuilding in any state damaged by tornadoes. Rebuilding is happening in Alabama.  These storms scattered family belongings over 100's of miles.  Think of all the family history lost.  Don't regret a loss like this, scan your photos and make copies of your research, then share them with your local genealogy society and put copies in a safe place.  It never hurts to plan ahead, hopefully we won't ever need those backups.

Cumberland Gap Genealogy Jamboree

Cumberland Gap, TN is a very small town with a great big sense of community and cooperation.  N.E. Alabama Genealogical was well represented during the first three days of the Jamboree.  Vendors from VA, TN, KY, IN and many family  groups were represented in the downtown area.  Great speakers could be heard in the Wilderness National Park Welcome Center, at the Holiday Inn and in various parts of the downtown area.  These speakers were some of the best known in the genealogical community.  NEAGS members took turns working our table so that the others could hear some of the programs. This was such a great weekend for genealogists and it was at no cost to those attending.  Mark Treadway and the other volunteers who made this possible are to be commended for a job "well done".