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.

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