Sunday, September 23, 2012

An Amazing Story...

On August 22, 2012, something amazing happened...

This story actually begins with an email I received from a co-worker named Ruth, on July 18, 2012.  The email had an attached link to this NY Times Blog chronicling the photographic journalism of Gordon Parks during the Civil Rights Movement.  Gordon Parks' photographs, famously printed in Life Magazine in the 1950's, moved me deeply and reminded me of why I'm so passionate about genealogical research.

On August 22nd, I was telling my co-worker, Ondria, about my experiences with genealogical research--utilizing such web sites as Ancestry.com & 23andme.com and she was really fascinated. I logged onto Ancestry.com and showed her how I research relatives. I asked her about her relatives and found census records with her family listed. She got really excited and told me that she would have something to show me in the morning.

The next day, she brought in an original LIFE magazine dated September 24, 1956. Inside were all of the pictures (and more) posted in the NY Times Blog.

ALL OF THOSE PICTURES ARE HER AS A LITTLE GIRL WITH HER FAMILY MEMBERS!!!!!!!

She said her aunt, a school teacher, knew Gordon Parks and that she gave him access to the family to document their life in the deep south. As a result, she was ostracized and subsequently banned from the state and had to move to Ohio, but when I asked if she was aware of the implications of her actions she said “yes”—what a woman of courage!!!!!!!!

I explained to her that I had seen these pictures before.  To her astonishment, she replied, “How could you have seen these pictures? These are my family members and we checked into this. This article is out of print so it’s impossible to get copies.”  I explained to her that our mutual friend, Ruth, sent an email the month before. The look on her face was PRICELESS!

I ran back to my desk and forwarded the email to her and she became emotional. Another co-worker immediately contacted Ruth  and asked her to come to Ondria's desk. Ruth's expression was just as priceless.  That morning there were several people at Ondria's desk all morning. My boss called her "a celebrity," pulled out a camera and started taking pictures of her holding the magazine and we were dying laughing.

This was truly an amazing experience!

The wonders of genealogy...

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Word of Thanks...

I give thanks to my late mother and grandmother who started a work in me that has become a life long journey and passion.  My mother started the first family tree nearly 30 years ago and I've just expounded upon it. 
My grandmother made me memorize all the matriarchs that span the the last 7 generations of our family when I was eight years old. Little did I know the impact that would have on the lives of so many, including my own. As a child, I loved looking at her old photo albums and she would identify all the people in the pictures and tell me so many things about them that I've never forgotten.  Thank you, Mama!