Genealogy: serendipity and good fortune

  • Did you ever wonder where all those interesting family stories and anecdotes came from?
  • Were you just a little bit curious about how some lucky folks have such interesting stories to tell about their ancestors?

I believe that serendipity certainly plays a part in the evolution of the stories… but so does good fortune and perseverance.  Today, one of my RSS Feeds unearthed an article that provides a great example of why we should never throw our old stuff out… well maybe that is not quite right lesson.  But we all know that really interesting things can be uncovered in odd, hidden places.  As the late Paul Harvey would have said, here’s more on “the Rest of the Story”:

The Nelson family. L to R: Hial, Ernest, Ida, Walter, Elmer, Arthur. Goshen Historical Society/Amherst College Archives and Special Collections


[…]The Nelson family lived on a farm, though they didn’t farm full time—father Hial worked off and on for wages elsewhere. Ida pitched in where she could, as did her boys.

Between helping her pick raspberries and blackberries for sale, the three older brothers explored a brook nearby, and “the pastures furnished delightful places for playing Indian.” Ida recalled […]


By way of contrast in New Zealand, today there is a report from the central city archives of the city of Auckland providing information on the 20 plus kilometers of documents that they store.

  • Sadly, not everything they archive is available online- that’s the bad news.
  • The good news is, you will need to visit New Zealand to see everything there…

A woman in New South Wales thought she was buying Anzac biscuit tins at a tender centre last year. To her surprise she found this Auckland City Board of Commissioners seal inside […]

And this doesn’t include the at-hand files and items stored at Auckland Council Archive’s […]

All sorts of records and items are available – from council decisions to rating records, cemetery plans, building permit plans, aerial photos, correspondence and subject files.


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