the grumpy genealogist

Stanley Young III got a visit from his ancestors earlier this month.

Bundled in a parcel that arrived on his doorstep was an old photo album that depicted his great-grandmother and great-granduncle, along with various other relatives, in all their finery.

The family album, portions of which dated to the late 1800s, was accompanied by a family tree put together by a total stranger, a Maryland genealogist who researched the photo album as a side venture to her business.

"Of course it was a surprise," Young said.

The photographic family reunion across the generations was made possible by Melissa "Missy" Corley, a tenacious researcher who loves to delve into historical mysteries.

When she came across the old album in an Easton, Md., antiques shop, Corley was smitten. She spent $75 to buy the book in March, then devoted dozens of hours of her own time -- which could cost several thousands of dollars if she had been billing for the job -- to put the puzzle together in a kind of historical treasure hunt.

"It was a lot of fun," said Corley, 34. "I'm a genealogist, so I'm drawn to old photos and documents. Usually they're associated with people who have a story to go with them. It's a fun puzzle to solve."

She also assumed someone would love to have the old book in their family's possession. She was right.

To read the entire story click here.



How to Tick-Off your Relatives

Back to Grumpyology

"If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance." - George Bernard Shaw