Stanley Young III got a visit from his ancestors earlier this
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
She also assumed someone would love to have the old book in their
family's possession. She was right.
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