A woman, who happened to be a genealogist, found an old photo album in an antique store. She purchased it, and decided to try and discover who the people in the photos were, and where their living descendants might be located. To her, it was an interesting puzzle. To the descendants, it was a priceless gift of family history.
A woman named Melissa Corley found an old photo album in an antique shop in Easton, Maryland. It cost $75.00 and was filled with old photos of women wearing elegant dresses that had ruffles or beadwork. The dresses were accessorized with jewelry. The men in the photos were wearing cravats, and high collars. Ms. Corley wondered who these people were, and what their stories might be. She purchased the photo album for $75.00.
She was able to do much more than just wonder, though, because she happens to be a professional genealogist. The photo album became an interesting puzzle for her to solve. She spent dozens of hours working on research that came from clues she found in the photo album. If she had been hired to do the work that the photo album required, it would have cost someone several thousands of dollars.
Melissa Corley chose to do this “extra” research for several reasons. The biggest of which might have been because this is the sort of research is something that she enjoys. For her, this was fun. The research was also a way for her to sharpen her skills as a genealogist. She kept track of her progress by writing about her discoveries on her blog, and created a family tree for the people in the album.
The genealogist also realized that there could be a descendant out there, somewhere, who would love to have this photo album full of memories returned to his or her family. When she was able to discover a descendant, she returned the entire photo album, the family tree, and the research to that family member.
For Stanley Young III, this was a priceless gift. He was living in Yonkers, New York. The extended family of Mr. Young had some roots in Danbury, Connecticut. No one knows how, or why, the photo album got to Maryland. Mr. Young is hoping to have a family reunion, where he can share the photo album with his parents, an aunt who also happens to be a genealogist, and the rest of his family.
Do you have an old family photo album filled with ancestors who are a complete mystery to you? You might want to hire a professional genealogist to help you discover more about those ancestors. They say that a picture paints a thousand words. It seems that old photographs, and old albums that are filled with them, give a thousand clues to a genealogist who knows what to look for.
Image by Bryan Gosline on Flickr