Friday, April 30, 2010

News on the Maternal Side - A Random Act of Genealogical Kindness

Recently, I've posted tributes to my two grandmothers, Anna Yarborough, and Mary Thomas.  In, "The Stuff I'm Made Of  and Grandma's Hands (for the CoAAG), I noted some of the hardships, sacrifices, and losses that each of my grandmothers had to overcome in order to successfully raise their families and maintain the homes which they were each left to manage alone.  I recognized, as I wrote, and then read over these posts, that the inner strength, tenacity, and perseverance which I possess are not traits that I developed on my own, but instead are deeply ingrained survival skills which have been passed on to me, not only from these two strong and resilient women, but, also from their mothers and grandmothers before them.

I return to this subject now, because yesterday, I was the recipient of a magnificent, and very surprising act of kindness on behalf of another researcher.  Hollis Gentry, a professional genealogist and DAR researcher, had been a part of a discussion which I was involved in on Afrigeneas a week or so ago, where the conversation was centered around the free preview that ProQuest was having for some of it's holdings - specifically a few African-American Newspapers.  As excited as I was, the one newspaper that I was interested in searching, the Norfolk, VA Journal and Guide, was not included in the free preview.  However, this researcher, who apparently had taken note of my disappointment, craftily visited my blog, pieced together what she could of my Norfolk ancestors' names and surprised me yesterday with an email which had attached to it NINE newspaper articles related to my maternal ancestors!  As it turned out, Hollis (whom I've never met and had never chatted with before) had made several attempts over a few days to get the articles to me, to no avail.  But her persistence paid off, and like magic - she gave me the most direct and personalized view that I've had, to date, of my mother's family.  I was, and still am, overwhelmed with gratitude towards Hollis for the the time and effort she has put towards finding and sharing these documents with me.  Not only that, but in subsequent emails, she has complimented me on my writing and my blog, and as a person with roots in Norfolk herself, has given me vital encouragement as to how to move forward in researching my maternal ancestors.  So, Hollis Gentry, I do hope you're reading this because I would like to publicly thank you for all you've done!

Stay tuned for upcoming posts in which I will share the articles that Hollis found for me.

Blessings, all!
Renate
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