Family History: Patience Essential

Family History can involve a lot of hurry up and wait. It can get frustrating. However, I am learning that with a little patience, it can pay off.

This picture is of a relative that I’ve had little knowledge of except a name and a date. I had written to a distant Geiszler relative after I learned he had acquired numerous pictures from another Geiszler family member. When I wrote him in 2005, the cousin said that he’d been working on the family lines and sent me some family group sheets. I was excited to receive that initial contact and information.

The group sheets contained a few bits of new information which I was grateful for. The cousin also said he’d scan the pictures into his computer and make me a copy. That was in December 2005. Although I do not know much about his life, I hoped that I would receive the pictures soon. As the years past, I would send a little note his way to maintain the contact. Perhaps he thought it was weird to get our family news, yet I wanted to keep my name familiar to him.

Yesterday, I uncovered his note of December 2005 regarding the pictures. I searched for his phone number on the internet and found one. So excited. I left a message on an unidentified voice mailbox. Wouldn’t you know it, he called me back! Sweet. He said he had just recently finished a photo essay that I would be interested in. I said I was, though I wasn’t sure what he meant.

This morning, my email box had a message from my distant cousin. He included a sample of the photo essay and the tears started rolling. In the sample was a photo of my distant grandfather who I’ve known very little about. I emailed that the file came through perfectly and I can’t wait to see the rest of the project.

Now, it might seem greedy, but I also asked for the photos to be made available outside of the photo essay. I want to put the photos in my own family scrapbooks and for other family members in the future. Perhaps this sounds greedy, but it’s really a reminder of my original request from 5 years ago. I hope that this is possible.

The lesson to learn is that genealogy and family history takes patience. Patience in waiting for a response to inquiries. Patience as you wait for the contact with the family history to compile their work. Patience as you wait for your copy of the work. And patience as you wait for documents and photos in a format you can use in your research projects.

Thankfully this patience can happen while you tend to more daily life events, such as raising children or grandchildren. Just keep dropping in notes to the family member with the treasure trove. One day, you’ll get lucky and hit the jackpot.

I’ve hit the jackpot, now I’m just anxious for the mailman to deliver my copy of it!

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee is passionate about capturing and preserving family stories so no one alive today has to be researched, or forgotten, tomorrow. She has authored 6 how-to books, a memoir, two published family history biographies, and over 60 family scrapbooks. She's an enthusiastic speaker who energizes, encourages, and educates at the same time.

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