Family History Center – A few success stories that shouldn’t surprise us.

family history centerThe Richland Washington Regional Family History Center serves about 250,000 people in the Tri-Cities, Washington Area. Librarians Richard and Ann Allen share several success stories that remind us why we love genealogy and shouldn’t surprise us at all!

Three Unusual HAPPY PATRON Events at the Richland Family History Center

I. When a German family from Wuerttemberg stopped by to visit the Richland Family History Center, we proudly showed them our extensive collection of German Family History books. They were excited to see the seven volumes of the Wuerttemberg Emigration Indexes. We selected one of the books at random for the German visitors to examine and, to our surprise, that volume contained the only entry in the entire set for one of their families that had emigrated to the United States!

II. Several years ago a Richland Family History Center librarian brought in a book she had found at a yard sale. It featured pictures of villages in a certain area of Germany. Usually the books in our collection have names, dates and places, not pictures, but the librarian felt so strongly about this particular book that we catalogued it into the holdings. Some time later we had a visitor from Germany. Her family originated in the area covered by the “yard sale” book and she found actual pictures of the villages of her family in the book. She was quite excited to see the pictures and very happy at her discovery.

III. Early in July 2013 a man on a bicycle rode up to the Richland Family History Center. He had a long white pony-tail and wore blue jeans. He did not tell us his name. In April he had found an impressive pedigree chart in the gutter near his home. He had kept it for all those months and now thought that he should bring it to the FHC, because “we would know what to do with it.”

The pedigree chart was rolled like a scroll. It was hand-printed on a very large piece of cardstock. It showed many generations of a family, going back to the 1770s. In that generation, one ancestor was designated as the Turkish Ambassador to the Court of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Other ancestors were also illustrious. Certain clues on the pedigree chart indicated that this was a Jewish lineage.

We called a well-known scientist, who is a friend of ours, who is also Jewish. When we told him some of the recent names on the chart he became very interested. The children in one of the families had been baby-sitters for his own children here in Richland! He knew the family whose lineage was recorded on the chart! Our friend told us that the man whose lineage was recorded on the chart had been a physician in the Tri-Cities for many years and was now dying in Seattle. Our friend had been asked by the family to give the funeral address. He thought that, when the former doctor was taken to Seattle last spring, the chart had blown out of the moving van, only to be found in the gutter by the man with the pony-tail, who had brought it to the FHC.

The very next day an obituary in our local paper indicated that the doctor had died. Our friend was able to return the important pedigree chart to the family immediately, because they had all come here for the funeral. Needless to say, they were very happy to have it once again.

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