Sunday, October 26, 2008

One INTERESTING Week

No, I haven’t died, nor have I fallen off the edge of the earth. (Well, duh, the earth is round and has no edges but I digress.) I’ve just had an INTERESTING week.

First, I have been fighting off some kind of flu bug. I think the drive-in person at McDonald’s who told us she wasn’t feeling well as she handed us our coffee and tea, may have had something to do with that. No, I get you, that’s not especially interesting but I just wanted to point out that you can have an INTERESTING week and still feel sick.

I also had my hair colored (no more gray) because I have to go to a work conference on Tuesday and Wednesday up into (shudder) Michigan. (No offense to the Michiganders who read this, but you people drive like maniacs!) And no, getting your hair colored isn’t especially interesting either but I wanted to prove what a real trooper I am – I mean feeling sick, getting my hair colored, and STILL managing to have an INTERESTING week.

The first thing that happened was that I was invited to join a new group called The Association of Graveyard Rabbits. This is a group of individuals “promoting the historical importance of cemeteries, grave markers, and the family history to be learned from a study of burial customs, burying grounds, and tombstones. As a group we pledge to promote the study of cemeteries, promote the preservation of cemeteries, and promote the transcription of genealogical/historical information written in cemeteries”.

I am honored to have been asked to join, but one of the things required is to start a NEW blog. So as soon as I am done writing this post, that is the next thing on my “to do” list. When the new site is up and running, I will post a link to it.

The next thing that happened this week was that my German friend, Siegfried, proved what a brilliant man he really is. A few months back I had written a series of posts about the land of my great grandparents, Pomerania. Siegfried found the posts and me, and we began a correspondence.

Siegfried decided that he would send me some videos after he had put some English captions on them, so I could “see” the homeland. I was grateful, excited and impatient to see them. I’m still hopeful that one day the postman will put them in my mailbox, but for now, they seem to have taken a rather long detour.

Now let me explain. Siegfried and I are not related, but his family and my family came from the same area in Stolp all those many years ago. For him to have gone this extra mile for an UNRELATED stranger, well what superlatives would be appropriate to describe such a wonderful selfless gesture?

As it turns out, there is another person in Ohio that Siegfried has helped. Her name is Shirley. (Hi Shirley! I hope the chicken soup helped.) Siegfried, Shirley and I are convinced that Shirley and I are very distant cousins.

Siegfried, who is no quitter, found another way to get the videos to both Shirley and I. He found a storage website that can be viewed in both German and English. He broke up the videos and uploaded them to the website, where Shirley and I could access them and download them. Each chunk of video took about three hours to download. For some reason while the download process was ongoing, it didn’t like me doing ANYTHING else with my computer. There were four videos, some with as few as two parts, some with as many as six parts. You do the math.

So, for the entire week, I have been computerless as I downloaded each portion. While there were some snafu’s – I still can’t view the very last video, and I had to get online to help figure out how to put the various pieces back together, I have to say it was pretty exciting being involved with such a project. I also have to say that Siegfried has been an amazing captain of the project, and Shirley has been a great deal of help – especially since I consider myself a technological imbecile in many respects. I could never find a better team to undertake something as all consuming as this turned out to be.

So a public thank you to my friend Siegfried. I’ve used the adjectives brilliant and amazing, but they pale in comparison to what you have done for me. Thank you very much for your persistence and kindness, and yes brilliance. As for Shirley, I couldn’t have found a better partner to share in our mutual excitement of what we experienced this week. It was time consuming, sometimes frustrating, but it was a major BLAST. We did it!

The final interesting thing that happened was a message board query that I had done about four years ago, finally paid dividends. I had been looking for information about my great grandfather’s cousin, Abram Perry Baker and one of his sons Dudley Vernon Baker. Well, a descendent of Dudley’s found me. (This is the very reason I hesitate to change any of my email addresses – you just never know!)

While I have been supplying them with parts of their family history and some cool documentation, they in turn have solved a couple of mysteries that have been plaguing me for about four years. I now know why Dudley went to Honduras, and why his uncle Rufus went there. I even know now that Dudley’s cousins Edward and Albert were also there. It feels a lot like an itch in the center of my back that I could never quite reach has finally been scratched. Relief! Euphoria! Hot Darn!


So you can see, this has indeed been one interesting week. None of this would have happened without the Internet. I know that I am preaching to the choir, but if you know any holdouts to the idea of using the Internet to further their genealogical interests, then tell them this – You know a lady, who at 55 is a technological imbecile, but still reaches out willingly to embrace the Internet and all its mysteries. You can also tell them she is loving every minute of it. Today is a day for happy dancing!

Until Next Time – Happy Ancestral Digging!

2 comments:

Sheri said...

Whoo Hoo Cha-Cha-Cha!!! I am dancing for you Terry.

It's for moments exactly like this that I do family history.

Sheri Fenley

TERRY SNYDER said...

Ah Sheri! If you ever decide to post a little movie of you Cha-Cha-Chaing, I'm there for you!

Yep, you are right it's moments like these that keep a good family historian going.

Thanks for Whoo Hoo!

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Terry

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