Happy New Year! I took a few weeks off from blogging and am delighted to be back. My blogging break, however, didn’t include a break from genealogy so in the next few weeks I’ll be writing about my recent discoveries, insights and well, dumb luck, which I’ll explain below.
I have always loved the holidays and it seems every year I get a genealogy gift from the universe. This year, I got an extra special one.
I’m not talking about the unexpected adorable t-shirt my sister-in-law bought me that says “Genealogist because Freakin Miracle Worker is not a Job Title” or the archival pens I found in my stocking (thanks, hubby). It’s those Santa gifts that I cherish because they come when I least expect it and make me scratch my head trying to figure out how in the world they even came about.
Trying to bring logic to the situation, I came up with a formula P1 + P2 = P3 whereas P1 is persistence, P2 is patience and together they equal P3 which is prosperity. Perhaps there is no logic involved and as I said earlier, this was just dumb luck.
This year, a few days after Thanksgiving, I saw a comment posted on Ancestry.com about one of the 10,000 plus pictures I’ve uploaded. Yes, I know that those pictures I uploaded give Ancestry rights. I understand I own the photos but these long dead people I do not own so I believe in sharing their lives. Legally, they lost their rights when they died so I have taken responsibility to track who is taking those shared photos. I figure it’s the least I can do to honor them.
The Ancestry comment was from an individual I did not know; he had identified the people in the photo above I had attached to my grandmother Lola Landfair Leininger. Most of the photos I inherited were not labeled so I placed all the photos under my grandmother’s tab as I assumed they had meaning to her since she had passed them to my father. I did not get the photos until long after both of them died and there was no family members left to identify them.
Around 2005, after a series of hurricanes had hit our area and being tired of lugging them around as we evacuated, I decided to scan and save the photos to CD. I titled them Leininger Family Photos but that turned out to be a mistake. Leininger was my grandmother’s married name; I realized that many of these undated photos had clues that showed they predated her marriage and if she was the care taker of them, then the older ones would be Landfair and Kuhn (my great grandmother’s line) photos. At the time I saved to CD, I uploaded to Ancestry but I didn’t realize that saving them as Leininger wasn’t helpful to any other surnames related to that family as they wouldn’t have shown up in an Ancestry search for those other lines.
Over the years, I have received a number of inquiries from Leiningers who asked for more details about a photo or two. I always persistently made a copy of the CD and mailed it off asking only that the receiver notify me of anyone they identify but none were ever able to help.
On Christmas Eve day I received an email that he had identified several more individuals that were closely related to him – his grandfather as a child and his great-grandfather. He had never seen those photos and was so excited he was going to take the photos with him to share with his family to see if they could identify others. Nine of the photos were eventually claimed as his closer family.
So, you can imagine my surprise and delight after patiently waiting 13 years to receive a comment identifying the Landfair children. How did this poster know that these were Landfair children? He had inherited the same photo that was clearly marked with their names. I mailed off the CD to him but with the busyness of the season, didn’t give it much thought.
In speaking with his older relatives, one who is in her 90’s, he learned that our shared great-great grandfather, Peter Landfair, had only one photo ever taken of himself. He did it because his family was insistent he be photographed and I know that I don’t own that one photo because family lore says he was photographed with his back to the camera. I would never know this story if I hadn’t shared the CD with this distant cousin.
On a side note, while sharing the photos he learned that a stash of them is residing in an unheated barn in the midwest. (Yep, that would be my family; mine were found in an unheated damp basement). He hadn’t been aware of that and plans to rescue them this month. I’m hoping that he finds that backside photo. Even if he doesn’t, I feel that the photos will lead to genealogy prosperity with lines we currently have no photos for and perhaps, we’ll be able to connect with others and gain even more goodies.
My New Year’s resolution is to continue blogging, sharing and connecting. I’m also wishing you and yours Genealogy Prosperity in 2019.