Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Greatest Genealogical Find Ever, Hmmm

I've been struggling for the past couple of days to respond to Craig's question, "What's your version of the Greatest Genealogical Find Ever?" I just don't know how to answer that.

For each of my four grandparents I had a "breakthrough" find, that one clue that gave me the name of the ancestral village in Poland where they came from. But I'm not sure one was any greater than the others. Each one was an exciting find. I suppose one could make an argument for the first of the four because, well, it was my first taste of success in my genealogy research. But then one could also argue that the last of the four was the greatest find because it had been eluding me the longest. But I don't think I was any less excited with the second or third finds than I was with the first or last. They all presented their own challenges and rewards along the way. They were all great and exciting.

I've thought about the photography "finds" I've had, family albums and photos that others have shared with me. But how can I say the photograph of one grandparent is greater than the photo of another? Three of my four grandparents died before I was born so having photos of them is the closest I'll ever come to a personal relationship with them. My fourth grandparent, my maternal grandmother, was blind and didn't speak English (and I don't speak Polish). I remember being in her presence (she died when I was 13) but I never had a direct conversation with her. I treasure her photos too.

I can't really think of any document or photo that solved a mystery for me or stands out as being more valued or appreciated than the rest. However, I do have a few family members who I could say stand out as my Greatest Genealogical Finds Ever (even here I can't limit it to one person). I'll be writing about them for the next COG (oops! Did I just drop a hint??? ;-)