If I were to give a beginning genealogist a suggestion, it would be “find a genealogy cousin.” That is, someone with whom you connect, share a possible common ancestor, and with whom you can have fun. In my case, I’ve been fortunate to have such a person, Dee Lindaman, whom I first met about fifteen years ago when she was the librarian at Wellsburg, Iowa. I had gone to research my Ostfriesen line and use the Ortsippenbucher (OSBs), a type of community lineage book.
Through the years Dee and I have discovered we do indeed share a common ancestor and are “at least” seventh cousins. (Ironically, I am also a third cousin once removed to her husband.)
Several times a year, Dee and I get together for a “Grundy County” excursion. And it doesn’t take much to justify an excuse, er, solid reason … Over the years we have done a variety of activities:
*sorted books and helped catalog them for the Ostfriesen Heritage Collection
*visited museums and historical sites in Grundy County
*repaired family tombstones
*speculated if a particularly prominent stone may have been used as a hiding place for homemade liquor during the ear of Prohibition
*hosted two German families who have a keen interest in genealogy
*traced the history of two families that have tombstones in remote areas (there are still some mysteries accompanying this one!)
*solved a few of our own genealogy puzzles, involving half-siblings, reluctant relatives, correspondence with family connections “across the pond”
*found an entry in an abstract book proving my great-grandfather actually lived in Grundy County
*made an ancestral trip to Germany which can only be described as the trip of a lifetime
*and, most importantly, ALWAYS having lunch and sampling the many fine eateries in Grundy, Hardin, and Butler Counties. It’s usually during lunch we swapped tales of our research and some of the humorous encounters we’ve had along the way.
Thanks, Dee, for being such a wonderful “genealogy buddy.”