Relatively Speaking: Greater of Two Loves

Relatively Speaking is a throwback to another time in the world of genealogy. These are anecdotal stories to inspire those who search for their ancestors. Although, many of these stories are from before the world of computers and certainly the age of the internet, I believe that all of us have benefited from serendipity in our research.

Greater of Two Loves

A few years ago I sent a letter to the Indiana State Library querying about David Williams of Clay County. The librarian glanced at the name, walked over to a microfilm reader and invited the person reading films to read the letter, as she believed the letter concerned the family he was seeking.

Three days later Mr. Jerry Williams, Attorney General for Alaska, journeyed to Boise, Idaho, our home at that time to meet us and exchange information. He turned out to be a double cousin to my husband and a distant cousin of mine through the Baldridge line (the two Williams brothers had married Baldridge sisters). He was amazed at the material I had amassed from my armchair and he shared the facts he?›ƒ?ªƒ?›d gleaned from original records in Indiana, Iowa, Washington D.C. and other states.

This coincidence becomes all the more startling when we learned our distant relative was only in that library a very short time. Had our letter arrived a day earlier or a few hours later, we?›ƒ?ªƒ?›d never have met him, nor learned of his existence and interest in genealogy. He had traveled to the nation?›ƒ?ªƒ?›s capital to help with the work necessary to Alaska?›ƒ?ªƒ?›s statehood, and arrived at our home the day statehood was granted, telling us he was torn between two loves, the long desired statehood and his wanting to partake of the festivity and holiday atmosphere (and work that was piling up in his absence) in the new state and his genealogy.

We are grateful our letter arrived at the precise moment it did and that the love of genealogy was the greater of the two.


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