I’ve Hit The Genealogy Jackpot

I want to apologize for not posting much recently but I’ve been super busy with packing, moving, and unpacking.  My aunt and cousin came to visit me from Seattle the week before I moved, and were kind enough to bring a few boxes that belonged to my mom and have been in their house for over a decade.  When we moved from Seattle to California (almost ten years ago), we only packed what we could fit in our car and drove to California.  Everything else stayed in my aunt and cousin’s house.  We promised that we would go back, rent a truck, and move everything else later.  My mom never got around to going back.

Now that my Mom has passed, everything is mine.  It is a long process trying to go through everything – figuring out what can be donated, what to trash, and what to keep.  One of the boxes that my aunt and cousin brought was an old green metal box with the “PERSONAL” written on it in permanent marker.  I was wondering what could possibly be in there that was important enough for the word PERSONAL and yet unimportant enough that she hasn’t needed it in ten years.

I opened it and quickly realized that I hit the genealogy jackpot.  There were receipts and letters documenting the division of my grandparents’ estate and the planning of her funeral after my grandma passed.  There were hospital and doctor receipts and letters from my mom’s pregnancy with me, which will come in handy for my medical history since my mom had a lot of complications with her pregnancy.  But the real jack pot came when I found a manila folder (the only one in the entire box) that said “Family Documents”.

Staring straight at me was my grandfather’s baptismal certificate from a church in Montana.  I looked behind that to find my grandparents’ marriage certificate.  I found my grandmother’s confirmation certificate.  I found my grandpa’s social security card (which looked brand new – as if it had never been touched).  I found my grandpa’s old tax forms which showed his salary information when he worked at McDonald Douglas (an Airplane company).  I found my grandpa’s teaching credential to teach aircraft welding at Santa Monica City College.  I found baptism certificates for my mom and each of her siblings.  I found receipts and letters regarding my Uncle Gene’s burial in 1961.  And this was all just the tip of the ice berg.

I instantly began screaming.  “DAD!!!!  DAD!!!  LOOK!  LOOK AT THIS!!!”  I was jumping up and down.  I never imagined that these records still existed or that I would ever see them.  I couldn’t believe it.  I was elated, excited, and full of energy.  My mind was running with the possible information these records would hold.  I never imagined any of this would ever happen.  It was a miracle.  I felt like I was in pure heaven.

Unfortunately, with the move, I haven’t had the chance to really look at the papers or scan them.  But trust me, by the end of summer, they will be scanned.  You will be seeing these certificates soon.

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26 responses to “I’ve Hit The Genealogy Jackpot

  1. Congratulations Elyse! You know what they say about Christmas in July. I can only imagine how it must have felt as you worked your way through the various documents.

    Cheers to your aunt and cousin who held on to everything all this time!
    Paula´s last blog post ..Jamboree- Big Door Prize Winners

    • They were incredibly kind to keep everything. A lot of the stuff is old toys and clothes that don’t fit. So that will all be donated. I was so excited to find these documents. I can’t believe I never thought to ask my mom if these even survived or if someone had them – I just assumed that they were gone (especially since my mom was not interested in genealogy at all and was notorious for losing things). I was so excited that it was in there. This is going to be a fun genealogy summer.

  2. Elyse, what a wonderful story! I think your mom was standing there next to you with her arms around you as you saw each of those documents! Can’t wait to see the images!

  3. Well, I can guess what you’ll be doing next Scanfest! 😉
    Miriam Robbins Midkiff´s last blog post ..July 2010 Calendar of Events

  4. Congratulations on the genea-jackpot! I am so very happy for you Elyse.

  5. What a wonderful find and thank you for letting us share your joy! Both my maternal and paternal grandmothers recently passed and when my folks asked me if there was anything I wanted (usually via a long distance call), my first answer was always just that they don’t throw ANY papers away. Treasures can be found in the most unlikely places.

  6. Wow! What a great gift, Elyse. This will all keep you very busy (as if you weren’t already),
    M. Diane Rogers´s last blog post ..Gordon A Watts on Canadas Censuses

  7. Elyse…I can feel your excitement pouring out through your words. What an awesome discovery. I’m excited for you and look forward to future posts on what you’ve found.
    Mary Warren´s last blog post ..Not Blogging

  8. I can just imagine your excitement! I’ve felt like that a few times as I went through my parent’s and grandparent’s papers. And, you keep thinking, “Oh my gosh, what else is there??” I am very happy for you Elyse. :)
    Carol Yates Wilkerson´s last blog post ..Tracing The Tribe – Genealogists Helping Genealogists

  9. Oh Elyse,

    I am so happy for you. I am doing the genealogy dance with you and giving you a virtual high-five.

    Keep us posted on your discoveries after you begin to look at each document closely.

  10. That is fantastic….this happened to me twice. When my parents and my in laws died. They also never mentioned what they had stored, I suppose it was too important for them to throw away but they did not imagine how it would be of interest to anyone.

    I share your excitement.


  11. What fantastic news! After all the years you’ve been doing research, this must be your most exciting discovery. I’m thrilled for you. Thanks for sharing with us.

  12. Oh wow. I got goosebumps just reading that. Maybe this is your graduation gift from your mom!
    Kerry´s last blog post ..I Like These Books You Should Read Them

  13. How great for you to be the recipient of such genealogy treasure. I love your post as I can feel the excitement in your words.

  14. What a thrill! I am so happy for you and your find. You have fore sure experienced a genealogy jackpot. Thanks for sharing and congratulations on your treasures.

  15. Woohoo! FANTASTIC! Have fun with all those goodies, Elyse!
    Bill West´s last blog post ..A TRIP TO THE ABINGTON LIBRARY

  16. Elyse,
    What a special gift. I have come to consider “pack rats” of immense importance. Too many are following the stream line method of house keeping and out with the trash goes the baby. Hope you just have oodles of fun as you play with your new found documents.

  17. I also got chillbumps reading this blog. So super excited for you. I’ve had mini-moments like this and it is so exciting. Congrats…

    Tinai Sansone´s last blog post ..Three Generations of Schucks-Shooks

  18. That’s so awesome! What a great find. When I read your post this morning, I started feeling a little giddy myself. I’ve had this happen once, when my grandfather found a small metal box in his basement that belonged to his parents. It contained passports from Wales from 1919, ID cards for the ship they came to Canada on, their marriage certificate, birth certificates and so on. Enjoy your treasures! And I’ll second the above: Let’s hear it for pack rats!”
    Stacey Waspe´s last blog post ..Thursday June 15- 1950Faith- Sarah and I went to town by bus-

  19. Wow, a genealogist’s dream!
    Tracy´s last blog post ..Tombstone Tuesday- Marie -amp Ted Peterson

  20. Elyse,
    Yay! Congratulations on your gift. You so deserve it. Can’t wait to see your treasures.
    Kathryn M. Doyle´s last blog post ..eNews July 2010- volume 4- number 7

  21. Incredible – I’m drooling just reading about it!
    Greta Koehl´s last blog post ..Surname Saturday- Newton Leonard Norman and Lillie Catherine Kinsey

  22. Pingback: Links 7.05.10 « The Ancestral Archaeologist

  23. Thats a great find Elyse! I had asked my mum whether she had a copy of her marriage certificate but she said no, she didnt think she had it. Recently however, my Dad came across the original certificate in some old documents and I, myself, whilst rummaging through papers found 3 photocopies of the same certificate. Its a good feeling, eh?
    Anon´s last blog post ..How to create a family group sheet

  24. Wow! What a fantastic find. You just never know what you will find in some of these boxes. I think you have won the lottery!
    Michelle Goodrum´s last blog post ..Sorting Saturday – Time Capsule Pictures- Announcements- etc

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