Saturday, September 8, 2018

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - What Crazy Thing Did You Do?

Calling all Genea-Musings Fans: 

 It's Saturday Night again - 

Time for some more Genealogy Fun!!

Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission Impossible music, please!), provided by Jacquie Schattner:

What was the craziest thing you did to get some genealogical information? 

2)  Write about your "crazy thing" in your own blog, a comment to this post, or on Facebook.  Please leave a comment on this post with a link to your response.

Here's mine:

My brother and I attended my aunt and uncle's 50th wedding anniversary weekend in Leominster, Massachusetts back in September 1990.  I had been doing genealogy for only two years, but had made great progress.  We had planned to stay with cousins in Salem, New Hampshire for several days after the event before we flew home.  We did, and had a wonderful time.

On the spur of the moment, we decided to drive down to Putnam, Connecticut where our grandmother, Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver (1882-1962) had been born and raised to look for the Richmond farm and for the graves of her parents, Thomas and Julia (White) Richmond, and their parents too.  The aunts told me that they were buried in the Grove Street Cemetery in Putnam right near the freeway.  I had not planned this, but it seemed like a good thing to try to do.  

We left the cousin's house in Salem, N.H. and drove down to Putnam, and found the cemetery and got a room at the Holiday Inn next to the cemetery.  We had dinner, then went back to the room and got out the local telephone book and I called the first Richmond in Putnam in the book.  Bingo!  She was the elderly widow of a Richmond descendant, and she said I needed to talk to Helen, the wife of Thomas Russell Richmond and gave me the telephone number, and that Helen's husband was deaf but he knew all about the Richmond family.  

I quickly called the number and talked to Helen, and after she checked with Russell, we agreed to meet him in the hotel parking lot the next morning, and he would show us around the cemetery with all of the Richmond graves.

Russell showed up on time the next morning looking very dapper, and showed us around the cemetery, talking all the time as we drove through; we got out and checked out the stones taking pictures, and he was able to lipread our questions and comments.  After he had gauged our interest, he asked if we wanted to go by the Richmond farm and see it too.  Of course, we said YES!  The farm recently had been sold, so we couldn't go in, but we saw the outside and the barn - it had been a dairy farm for over a century, but was now known as the "Good Earth" farm (get it, "riche monde" on Richmond Road (yes, named after the family)) growing organic vegetables.  I took some photos too.

Russell asked if we would like a bite to eat and to see some of the family photographs, and of course we said YES!  They had built a prefab log cabin house on land next to the original farm which was beautiful inside and out.  Helen made a simple lunch of sandwiches and lemonade and cookies, and we enjoyed meeting and getting to know her.  Russell brought out some framed portraits and loose photographs, and described each of them to us.  I asked if we could go down to a store with a copy machine and get photocopies of the photos, and he said sure.  So we picked out the ones we wanted to copy, and he drove us down to the drug store and we made the copies.  I wrote captions and descriptions on the back of the copies.   This was exciting!  

In the afternoon, we said our thank yous and goodbyes, and drove back to our cousin's home in Salem and told them all about our visit to the Richmond farm and showed them the pictures.  Over the next year or two, I shared many of the photographs in my yearly "Seaver-Richmond Family Newsletter" with all of my cousins and family.  And, of course, I have shared them on this blog.  

Here is a post with the prize photograph of the James Richmond family of Putnam, CT:  

Family Photographs - Post 3: James Richman Family, 1885

Thomas Russell Richmond (1904-2003) is my second cousin once removed, with the common ancestors of James and Hannah (Rich) Richmond of Hilperton, Wiltshire and Putnam, Connecticut.  

In hindsight, just now, I realize that I did not ask him if he recalled his uncle, Thomas Richmond (1848-1917) and aunt (Juliet (White) Richmond (1848-1913), and knew any stories about them.  Oh well!  

This wasn't that crazy, I guess.  It's what genealogists are supposed to do, but it was unplanned and could have turned out badly for us.  It turned out memorable and great fun.


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Seeds to Tree said...

Crazy how just one spur of the moment phone call yielded so much information for you, Randy. Here is my story:


PS. Thanks for using my question.

Janice M. Sellers said...

Here's my crazy story:

Linda Stufflebean said...

Here's my crazy story:

Barbara said...

I live in Putnam CT and have walked in the Grove Street cemetery many times. My nephew learned to drive in that cemetery. (He was only a few days old at the time of your visit in Sep 1990, so you were in no danger! LOL) As all genealogists know, the world is a very small place and we are all related even if we don't (yet) know the specific connection. Love your blog, Randy--it's my favorite! Thanks for that!