Through a series of seemingly insignificant events, I recently came into possession of the old photo album pictured above. My little detective antennae started twitching, and I poked around online, but didn't find any definite connections that I felt good about offering this album to. So it got stuffed into a cabinet with some office supplies and forgotten in the everyday lunacy of life - until the day last week when I ran out of paper and opened that cabinet. In an effort to remind me of its existence, the album fell out on my foot! Well, it was a quiet Sunday afternoon, so what better time for such a project?At some point in time, someone had the sense to pencil in the names of most of the people in the photographs, which I judged to have been taken between 1880 and 1900. The majority of them were taken in Lowell, Massachusetts, and the most common surname was Colby, so I started there. Instead of searching in Rootsweb's WorldConnect, I took a different tack and searched in new.familysearch.org. This website is designed to help members of the LDS Church to link their ancestors as families, with the goal in mind of helping researchers find one another and to prevent duplication of ordinance work in temples.The first two Colbys were William and Annie. Each search returned a couple of hits, but nothing specific enough with so little information. When I searched for little Ruth Colby, I got my first real hit. Ida Ruth Colby was born in Lowell in 1891 and her parents were William and Annie. However, Ida Ruth found her way into new.familysearch.org by the extraction process, which is completely anonymous. I continued on, this time searching for Edgar Colby. Bingo! There was Edgar and several siblings, both children of William and Annie Colby. Now I had a submitter's name - and an email address!
I emailed Alice, described the book and offered to send it to her if she was interested, and went about my business. About 2 hours later, I got a response - headed by 1/2 inch tall purple exclamation points! She is a familysearch missionary in California, just finishing her shift and checking her email. Yes, she is a descendant of William and Annie Colby. Yes, she certainly would love to have the book. The frosting on the cake is that she is the head of the Colby Family Association and their reunion is going to be in August.
You can only imagine how happy I was to have found someone to whom this book had meaning! Of course, she wanted to know how I came to be in possession, and I had little to offer other than New England barn sales and closet cleaning.
Thanks, Kathie, for providing this opportunity for such a wonderful experience!