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    Saturday, July 12, 2008

    Be Nice to the Person behind the Counter...

    My family and I are in Columbus Georgia visiting relatives. After lunch today we had some extra time on our hands so like most genealogist we decided to squeeze in some research at the local public library. My husband was looking for a book which he thought was located at this library. I wasn't looking for anything in particular just along for the ride. There is one thing I have learned about genealogy...family info turns up in least expected place. My stepdaughter, Darla was tagging along as well. She has been visiting with us this summer and has taken an interest in her family history. Particularly her mother's "Leger" family from Acadia Parish, Louisiana. While looking through the stacks, I was quite surprised to find several books on Acadia Parish. I shared them with her and she began marking pages to copy. When it came time to make her copies, I offered to help. While at the copy machine I began talking with one of the library staff. Out of curiosity I asked her did the library have any submitted family files, she pointed to the file cabinet where they were located. She then explained they were not filed alphabetically but numerically and that she would have to located the index. After a few minutes she came back over to the copier where I was standing and said she could not locate the index and if I wanted to look at the files I would have to go through them one by one. I smiled and told her it wouldn't be the first time. She smiled as if she too had dug through a few unindexed files in her day, then we both walked over to the cabinet to began looking through the folders. She seem to regret not being able to locate the index and offered to help. As she began thumbing through the folders and she asked, "What surname are you looking for?" About that time her hand was on a "Newsom" folder and I said, "Well, we can start with the one in your hand." She remarked. "This Newsome file?" I responded, "Yes". Then she asked, "Are you related to John Newsom?" I responded, "Possibly -- I'll have to look through this info to be positive." Then she looked at me and said, "Well then, we must be related." Boy was I surprised with this comment! What are the odds of this happening? We began filling each other in on our family histories and discovered that we had a common ancestor, William Newsum. Once we determined this, I knew we were related so, I asked her to write down her direct line so I could figure out how. I sat down at the table where I was working earlier and began comparing the folder contents to my genealogy database. A few minutes later she was at the table with a completed 8 generation family tree chart. I began inputting her line in my Family Tree Maker software and discovered we were ninth cousins! We both hugged and at the same time said "Hello Cousin". I took our picture and she began sharing info about an upcoming Newsom reunion. By now it is time for the library to close so we began gathering up our things to leave all-the-while cousin, X and I are still talking. We paid for our copies and I told her it was nice meeting her and that I appreciated her help. As we are walking out the door she yells back, "Hope to see you at the reunion, cousin." I turned and smiled and waived good-bye.

    Remember the next time you are visiting a library be nice to the person behind the counter, you never know they might be family...

    1 comment:

    1. What an amazing story! You're right, though - it always pays to be nice to the person helping you out; there's always the possibility that they can lead you to more resources.

      I notice you have a picture of a tombstone in one of your posts; have you thought of becoming a Graveyard Rabbit?

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