20 November 2017

Thankful November - Family tree found at a historical society

The purpose of this post is to highlight something I am thankful for in my genealogical discoveries from 2017. My list could include many discoveries and things I learned.

One discovery was a collection of original family papers held at a historical society in New Jersey. I started writing to the society two years ago to request copies, and each time I would write I got a response that they would help me when they had time. After this continued for two years I hired a genealogist to go there and make copies for me.  

Lesson: Persistence and be willing to pay when paying is the most effective way to get results.

The copies I received included several pages of hand-copied and typescript genealogical notes from the 1830s until the 1910s. The information traced many descendants of my French immigrant ancestor John Baptiste Brognard born 1761. One chart in particular gave many names on one single page. I was amazed to find that I had cousins in the 1830s and 1887 who cared enough about family history to record the information and leave it in a place where it would be discoverable many years later.

Lesson: Genealogy is not a new hobby. Donate your materials to the best historical societies or archives, and they may last longer than they would if left among your personal papers to be distributed upon your death to an unknown end. After that I have begun to speak to various societies and library archives about donating some of my important family papers that date back to the early 1900s or before.