Friday, April 15, 2011

Family Reunion

Through the miracle of the Internet, a 19th century photo album has been returned to my family.

Now, for those of you whose eyes glaze over whenever I bring up my dearly departed relatives (Hi, Steve, and Happy Birthday), feel free to skip over to a non-genealogical post, which is pretty much every Naperville Now since 2009.

I've been in genealogical touch with several distant cousins since Prodigy was our ISP. Two weeks ago, Larry, whose fabulous website documents much of my family and various brooks and ripples off the Vredenburgh trunk, emailed me with news that a photo album, bearing the pix of possible relatives, was in the hands of a lady in Missouri. She had purchased it at a garage sale 23 years ago. An subscriber, she recently started to troll the various member-contributed data bases to see if she could connect with the right family. Lucky for us, she found Larry, who wrote to me and our cousin, Marc.

After exchanging several emails to establish if Eunice, Lulu, Clarence et al were my family (they are, in a first-cousinly way), Wilma and her family drove up to Chicago with family and album in hand.

We met at Wendy's by the interstate.

I told everyone where we were going, who we were meeting with and why.

I even arranged for the dog to be walked in the event we were ambushed and left crumpled and confused in the parking lot.

Happy to report that Wilma is a delightful human being who just wanted to see the album returned to its family.

This is us.

We share a lot in common, Wilma and I, and not a few geographical ties. And her trip up here -- to see her grandchildren in a choir competition -- was pure chance.
She says she was on the hunt for McDonald's toys at that garage sale all those years ago and saw the album.
(My mother would be over the moon to see this.)

The guy on the right, and you're dying to know, I can tell, is my great great grandmother's brother, Horace. His wife, Mary, is on the left. I could go on with the family tree, but I realize not everyone has the same zeal for identifying dead people that I have.

The album quest has reenergized my interest in researching this branch. Cousin Marc just found out where these folks are plugged, so he and I are off on a road trip to Cedar Rapids next month.

In that Marc and I have never met, it occurs to me that he may have a few reservations about me. Not to worry, Marc, it will just be me, a geek bearing pics.


Carol said...

Fascinating story!
And I find the baby in the above photo to have a striking resemblance to Z.

Larry Vredenburgh said...

What an awsome, amazing story! Like a dream come true. Glad I could play a part.

Kathy and Freddy said...

You are living my dream!!!!
We must talk Ioway and Missoura genealogy...been loving that area lately!

Anonymous said...

How exciting for you! Isn't it fun?? Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

Sorry - i was going to post a comment yesterday, but i kept dozing off......

Thanks for the birthday card and lottery tickets. Unfortunately, I scratched, but didn't win the $80 million.....

Naperville Now said...

Ha! Despite the losing tickets, hope you had a great birthday, anonymous brother.

Sharon said...

How cool!