This site is dedicated to the memory of my parents and to our ancestors. If you are related to those listed, I hope this gives you a better understanding of their lives. Feel free to comment on anything posted, especially if you have additional or different information. The posts on this page chronicle my
research journey and provide resources and links. Genealogy is divided by parental lineage into Lowe and Bader. You can access these by
category from the menu and side links. Please be aware that this is an on-going project. Information will be updated as it becomes available.

Journey # 22: Turning Lead into Gold with Knowledge

I'm not a packrat. I don’t hold on to things that have no obvious usefulness unless they are very, very special. But thankfully my mother was a keeper of things. As a result, when she died she left several boxes of photos, cards, documents, and souvenirs.

My father had a touch of packrat in him too, but in his later years, after downsizing twice, he simply didn't have the space to hang on to everything. He did, however, keep his military papers and photographs as well as pictures and documents that had been important to his parents.

I was lucky to acquire these after my parents were gone, my siblings deciding that if anyone were going to do something with them one day, it would be me.

I have met genealogists who have more family material than what I have, and I have met those who have less. I have also met some who have nothing at all, so I know I am fortunate. I believe it is a privilege to be the curator of my family archive, but I also feel obligated to preserve the stories of my ancestors so they do not disappear into oblivion.

As keeper of this collection, I have always cherished it, even if I didn’t know what to do with it until now. I knew the items had value as keepsakes, but before I was well into my genealogy journey, I had no idea how valuable they were for research.

Some of these materials had obvious genealogical worth: marriage certificates, army I.D. cards, immigration documents, and so on.

But for others, their value only became apparent as research progressed. Even though I had looked at everything several times in the past, revisiting each and every item with new-found knowledge allowed them to shine as they hadn’t before.

A photo signed “To my darling daughter Bell” only indicated the subjects were my great grandparents once I discovered from old correspondence that Bell was my grandmother’s nickname.

A funeral card provided the death date and burial place for a person I would never have know was my great-great grandfather if online records hadn't shown me who he was.

A letter that hinted at a place in Scotland where my ancestors were from had no meaning before I began questioning my rumoured Scottish roots.

A uniformed man in a photo was unidentifiable until I learned from an ordered marriage certificate that my great-grandfather was serving in the 3rd Dragoon Guards at the time of his wedding in 1875.

Ignorance can prevent one from seeing the true beauty and lustre of an item. Research removes the layers of obscurity to expose the importance of the information. Even a little knowledge can turn a researcher into an alchemist, transforming seemingly worthless items into genealogical gold. I now know I must revisit these treasures again and again so new-found information can be applied to reveal their full value and let their brilliance shine. True alchemy in my books. 


Post a Comment

To prevent spam, your comment must be approved before it appears. Thank-you for your patience.