Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"A Year in Provenance"

Is that totally clever, or what?! <crickets>

With apologies to Peter Mayle, whose book by a similar name I bought years ago and still have not read...

But back to provenance.  According to, its definition is:  a place or source of origin.

For years now, I have been obsessed with the idea of reuniting old items with their families of origin.  
So you can see why I went slightly gaga when I saw this article in my old hometown newspaper:

In short, a couple in England found an antique valentine at a flea market.  It had been addressed at the time to a young child in Jamaica Plain - Elizabeth Lockwood.  The couple want to return it to one of Elizabeth's descendants.

In his article, reporter John Ruch did a great job researching the family, thereby laying the groundwork for  my fairly quick discovery of living relatives.

Just this morning, I just spoke to a woman in Atlanta who is a descendant of "Sky" Thurber, the man who eventually married Elizabeth Lockwood.

(An aside - he, of course, swept her right out of Jamaica Plain and resettled her in the Wild West.  And really - would you expect anything less from a guy named "Sky"?)

The Thurber in ATL was delighted to hear from me, and told me that her mother would be really interested in the saga.  She promised to put us in touch.

It's very gratifying to return a piece of family history - albeit small - to its provenance.  That feeling is a gift in itself.

But in this case, there may be another gift.

The lady tells me her mom is coincidentally coming to Boston next month.  The purpose of her trip?  To attend a small convention of sorts dealing with an aspect of genealogy - the same topic I am currently passionately reading about.

My hope is that the lady may let me sit in on one of these meetings - but we shall see.

What are the chances?

However it turns out, I still get that small thrill of solving a puzzle.

The smell of victory is sweet - as sweet as the lavender that blooms in Provenance.

Help! I'm Being "Followed"!

Seventeen people are potentially reading this?  Every day?!  Holy crap!  The pressure's on!

But seriously, folks - I am humbled and tickled that you all have signed on.  I would have been happy to get 17 followers in the first YEAR!

Enough silliness.  The purpose here is, after all, to write about genealogy - the legacy of people.  But today I want to write about the legacy of an object - its provenance.

I'm going to do this in a separate post below, so everything is appropriately classified and tagged.

Plus, I thought of a wicked cool title that I just have to use.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Now I've Done It.

For some time now, I've promised, threatened, and solemnly pledged to myself that yes, I WILL start a blog, and I will start it NOW. 

But then there's the recruiting of and working for clients...the needs of the family and minor child...the withering plants on my windowsill.  And all the good intentions are swept away - by the spring rain, the summer winds, the autumn gloom, the winter chill.

My clarion call came in May, at the NGS Conference in Charleston, SC.  I attended a workshop on how to monetize your blog, hosted by a great fellow named Mark Olsen of Family Link.  He was brilliant, and quick - too quick!  My addled brain could not keep up with the machinations of changing HTML code and the highlights of dealing with Google AdSense.

It didn't help that I'd walked in my customary ten minutes late, either.

In the end, Mark graciously offered to email a summary of the course to us poor, confused souls.

Not much of what he said that day stuck with me, but one thing did.  Allow me to paraphrase his wise words:

"If you don't have a blog, start one now.  Just start it!  My brother always wants to take the long road.  He says, wait Mark, I need to design a logo.  I need to figure out the message and the target audience.

I say, don't worry about it!  You can always add that stuff later!  Just WRITE something, and put yourself OUT there!"

So - here I am.  No custom colors, no logo, no profile pic - not yet.  I broke all of my own rules, and just decided to start writing about what I absolutely, passionately love to do - solving historic mysteries.

Hence the title: Unsolved Histories.

Now I've done it.  And there's no going back.

Mark, I don't know if I'll ever be able to dabble in HTML code.

But thank you, Mark Olsen.  This one's for you.