Saturday, July 25, 2009

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Good Genealogy Luck

It's Saturday Night - time for our weekly Genealogy Fun!

John Milton originally said "luck is the residue of design" (and Branch Rickey is often credited with the saying). However, the definition of "luck" is "the chance happening of fortunate or adverse events."

I saw a post on the Genealogy Insider blog by Diane Haddad about Ways I'm Genealogically Lucky. I thought to myself "old Rand, that would be a good SNGF topic." Thank you, Diane, for the idea:

Here's the directions (and would you all please follow the directions? Thankfully, these are easy to follow):

1) When have you had a dose of good genealogy luck? What document or resource did you find just by happenstance or chance? By being in the right place at the right time? By finding a family history treasure in your family's attic or basement? By finding a helpful document or reference without even looking for it?

2) Tell us about it in Comments to this post, in Comments on Facebook, or in a blog post of your own.

Here's mine:

Read Treasures in the Closet for my extreme good luck after I thought that all family treasures had been found. This was certainly a case of being in the right place at the right time.

I'm still working my way through all of these items! I wonder where I put some of them? Hmmm, probably the file cabinet! I need to scan them and get them archived somewhere.


QuiltinLibraryLady said...

Here's my blog entry for this week's Saturday Night Fun:

My whole start in genealogy was luck. I've sorted out a lot of the paper piled on that chair & bought the necessities for a filing system for the rest. Once that gets done I can see what I have and don't have. Then I need to start getting some copies of original documents collected since pretty much all I have is names & dates supplied by others.

I'll be interested in reading others' stories.

September McCarthy said...

Happy Saturday Night!
I consider myself lucky to have stumbled upon genealogy to begin with and found I have a real passion for it, and that it has led me to find cousins I would never have known of otherwise. This leads me to a very lucky circumstance . . . I took a trip to Isle Madame, Cape Breton a few years ago, based on my research on my great-grandfather, James Maskell, who actually reported himself as having been born in PEI. There is a lovely historical society there, and I was able to locate the entries for the baptisms of James and his siblings. As if that wasn't enough luck, the manager of the hist. society, who also ran the post office, suggested that I go to the area elementary school where a man who taught computers to the children may have some information about James' mother, Ann Proctor. To make a long story short, once we connected, it turned out that he was a Proctor, himself! And so were the other people who began appearing at the school in response to a phone call this gentleman made after he learned who I was. They were even kind enough to take me to the cemetery where Ann's mother and grandmother were buried (her father drowned, so had no grave). These Proctors still live on the original land granted to them in Cape Breton, NS, and confirmed that the Grant line (Ann's mother was Harriet Grant) was those who came from Scotland on the "Hector." I couldn't believe my luck in finding them, in their open welcome, and in their willingness to share the information they had! What a trip!

Anonymous said...

I was looking for someone else's brick wall by going down the list of sites on Death Records of Line. I found the brick wall ancestor. I then decided that perhaps I should look for one of my own brick wallers. Amazingly, there was the long looked for Aunt Gay. Other than Californor where I had been searching she died in Missoui where her daughter had reacently moved.

Bob Franks said...

Here's my blog entry for this week's Saturday Night Fun:

I have had several find simply out of sheer luck, but perhaps my best luck is simply where I live.

Terri O'Connell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Terri O'Connell said...

Randy, this was a fun one to participate in. I have so many more little treasures that I could have added. I posted the most treasured though. Going through these treasures took me back and let me spend some time with the Grandparents I deeply miss and has given me some thoughts on future posts.

Here's the link to mine,

John said...

As a sidenote, in his Freakonomics blog, Fred Shapiro finds a 1946 Sporting News citation for Branch Rickey saying the luck quote.

Most citations on the internet for Milton only give his name. In a few places it says the line is in the poem, “At a Vacation Exercise in the College”. However, the line about luck is not there.

I lean towards giving Rickey credit unless a direct source can be found for Milton.

Terri O'Connell said...

September, that is a great story! It is always great to find new relatives.

Lisa Rex said...

So many to choose from, but I chose to blog about the moment that truly gave me goosebumps:

June Dillon said...

Hi Randy...Just discovered you on a YouTube interview..
Here is my LUCKY find...I wrote to someone on about my Yarlott line (grandmother's maiden name)..Someone wrote and said that my GrGr Grandfather Marion Yarlott had a brother David Yarlott...After the Civil War he went out west...and they thought he married a Crow indian woman.
I used my Google search for a "David Yarlott" Montana and BINGO...up popped David Yarlott...but it wasn't my was a gr gr Grandson of my David Yarlott..
My husband and I went to Montana last year and were invited to a YARLOTT Family Reunion ....I meet about 150 of my Crow relatives that I never knew that I had...Just because I did that Google search.

Geolover said...

With a dear co-researcher in a Smith line, long searching resulted in no land record showing how my ancestor acquired land that we know he owned: the spot was mentioned in roads-survey records, he was enumerated in State Census items, and the deed where his widow sold the land was recorded (in a different County than any in which the land was located over the years). The co-researcher was in one NY county Register of Deeds office, and after looking in vain in the indexes just pulled a volume off the shelf. When she put it down it opened to a middle-ish section. She quickly scanned the visible pages, and her eye fell on the name of my elusive ancestor! He was mentioned as buying land in a verrrrry long deed, from executors of a large NY City estate , to heirs of the estate (evidently the same deed recorded in each County where the estate's holdings lay). Without this amazing serendipitous find, this entry would never have been located: local deeds never hinted at the decedent's owning the land, and of course deeds are not every-name indexed except by valiant volunteers.

Cyndi Beane Henry said...

What's that old saying, "A day late, and a dollar short"? I'm always behind in posting my Saturday Night Challenge. But here's my post for this week. It was literally handed to me!!! Here's the link for my post:

Anonymous said...

This week's been good for me -- not sure about the best but certainly recent. Here's my post (I made a comment and it said it posted but don't see it so I hope this isn't going to be duplicate).

Janet said...

My sister and I got together in 1998 to enter data into a genealogy program she had. When we got as far as my father's grandmother, we realized we didn't know her last name. Gail went to her bedroom, opened a drawer under her bed, and pulled out an old newspaper clipping from May 1929. It was the obituary of Bengta Johnson, our great grandmother; she had no idea where she got it. Although it was in Swedish, from a Chicago Swedish Newspaper, I could read enough to contact the Madison County, NE genealogical society, who identified her two sisters, their families--and the biggest treat: My great great grandfather had also immigrated from Sweden after his wife died. Genealogy angels are out! Don't duck!

GrannyPam said...

Great fun, mine is here: