This week’s challenge for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun with Randy Seaver is actually a challenge to tell a bit of our own stories.
Here is our challenge:
1) What is the most wild, crazy, off-the-wall, or really stupid thing you have done in pursuit of your ancestral families and their family history?
By nature, I’m much more of a reserved, boring person than a wild and crazy one, but I have done a few things in my quest for genealogical information.
One of the first memories I have is of visiting the Old Burying Ground in Gloucester, Massachusetts because I have several ancestors who died in the 1700s who are not only buried there, but have legible gravestones today.
Accessing the cemetery was the wild and crazy part. First, Dave and I had to obtain directions because we couldn’t find an entrance off the street. It seemed that there was no public road access as the cemetery was located on a hill in the back of someone’s yard. We were told to drive through the backyard (and we passed the wash hanging on the clothesline) to get close enough to walk the cemetery!
There were a lot of graves, but the cemetery grass was very overgrown and it was summertime bug season. Dave enjoyed visiting Gloucester because he’d never been there before, but he wasn’t so thrilled about tromping around through the weeds looking for a handful of gravestones. At one point, he said we were leaving, but I made it very clear that I didn’t come 3,000 miles and drive through someone’s yard to give up and go home without photographing my ancestors’ stones. He realized that I was determined and, a short time later, we found all the graves near the top of the hill. They were some of the earlier burials.
On the same trip, we drove up the coast to Calais, Maine. One of the highlights of that visit was taking the ferry over to Deer Island, where my Adams ancestors had settled. My goal was to meet some cousins and it happened by chance that the first person I met off the ferry was a very nice lady named Alice, who was an Adams by birth! Not only did I chat with her, but I managed to talk her into bringing me around to visit several elderly cousins who could share some early family stories. Turning up unannounced at the front door of distant cousins who have never heard of me is wild and crazy for me!
A second activity, similar to knocking on the front door that I’ve done repeatedly is to cold call distant cousins who I’ve been able to identify and locate using modern day public databases. Everyone is always very surprised to hear from a 3rd, 4th or whatever cousin out of the blue, but no one has ever hung up on me. Once they realize that I’m not a scammer, they’re very happy to share family stories.
That’s about as wild and crazy as this person ever gets!
Thank you, Randy, for this week’s interesting challenge.