Thank-you to my Genealogy Guardian Angel!

Before I was “into” genealogy, I had a few family photos that I was happy to have but didn’t think that much about. This weekend I realized how much I treasure those photos.

I’m still struggling to figure out how to arrange and organize my old family photos but at a minimum I try to keep them in one location (safe archival box) until I can create an index and store them in a “safe” permanent home. Ideally in frames on my walls – but I feel I need to organize them first. I need to know what I have before I can arrange them on a gallery wall.

So here’s a story that will make my genealogy friends cringe. I got a new scanner in March, just before my husband and I made a trip to visit one of his new-found cousins who we hadn’t met before. Dominic Renzi is 85 and lives in New Jersey. His step-mother was Lena George – my husband’s great aunt – who married Nick Renzi when Dominic was ten years old. So Dominic has lots of George family history and we got lots of good stories during our visit and scanned many of the photos that line the walls of his apartment.

GENEALOGY TIP #1 – TALK TO YOUR OLDEST LIVING RELATIVE

√ – Checked

This past weekend I went to Richmond, VA to celebrate Mother’s Day with my 82-year old mother and help her clear out her shed. Her younger brother (who is actually 3 years younger than me and was adopted by my grandparents when I was 4) joined us for dinner on Saturday. Earlier in the week I called to ask if he had any family photos that he could bring for me to scan – he thought he might.

On Saturday when we talked to arrange the details for dinner, Ken thought the only pictures he had were “my” pictures that I had given him to scan a few years ago.  He said a lot of them were from Nana’s 80th birthday party and some of my baby pictures.“My pictures???” I was puzzled. I didn’t remember giving Ken any pictures to scan.

Hmmm… that might explain what became of my huge collection of baby pictures. I still had plenty so even though I’ve had a vague sensation over the past few years that some were missing, I wasn’t too concerned. I figured they’d turn up eventually.

I was curious to see what pictures Ken had since I didn’t remember giving him any. I definitely do not remember giving him an entire album of pictures to scan but when we got together at the back of his car while we were waiting for our table at Longhorn Steakhouse on Saturday night I realized that is exactly what I had done. But when? Ken wasn’t sure either – some time after 2003, when Nana died. He thought he had scanned the photos and sent me copies. I know that didn’t happen but maybe he scanned them and gave me a disc. If so, I have no idea where it is. Either way – he still had the album – and I didn’t even remember giving it to him.  WOW!

As it turns out, the album did contain a lot of baby pictures – not only mine – but this one of my paternal grandfather taken in 1890!!!!

JBK.1890This picture captures my grandfather’s inquisitive nature. One of the traits that him such a fascinating person. It is 126 years old! … and I could have LOST it!!!

GENEALOGY TIP #2 – KEEP ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS IN A SAFE PLACE AND WORK ONLY FROM COPIES.

NOT – √’d – . . . definitely not √’d

I found the newspaper article about my paternal grandparents’ 1928 wedding and was frustrated that the bride’s picture was blanked out of the online digitized newspaper version because of copyright restrictions.  I vaguely remembered seeing their wedding picture and thought I might even have a copy but search high and low and I never could find it.

JBK.KGB.wedding.1928
Wedding Photo of Katherine Gertrude Bryant (25) and Joseph Bush Kingsbury (37)          January 4, 1928 – Washington, DC

Kitty and Joe met in December 1926 and from his letters to her during their courtship (which I have in a VERY safe place) I know that he was instantly smitten – love at first sight!

I didn’t even remember this picture of my grandfather (front row, fourth from the left) when he was in the Army in WWI.
JBK.WW1

Or this one when he was in Europe with Kitty in the summer of 1929
JBK.Europe

What the heck was I thinking?!?!?!

More astounding than the fact that I gave Ken the album (something I would NEVER do now) is that it was a complete fluke that I got it back. If I hadn’t asked him about scanning family photos, I may never have gotten these pictures back. As it turns out, he didn’t have any other photos. Turns out my $69 scanner has more than made up for its price!

I’m still shaking my head at what I might have lost and saying a silent prayer of gratitude to my genealogy guardian angel.

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