Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Shaking Leaf Told Me So


 I know that we like to make fun of Ancestry's little shaking leaf, but it really cleared up a mystery for me recently.  Actually, it was a mystery that I had even forgotten about.  In an old box of pictures that my Grandma Ritchie gave me - many of which were picture of my Grandpa Ritchie's family - was this adorable picture.  As you can see, it was taken in Scotland.  On the back, in my Grandma's handwriting it says, "Bill & Hildegard".  At one point she and I had gone through these pictures because "Ritchie" is added in my handwriting.  I didn't think to ask her how it was possible that Bill & Hildegarde, both born in Cleveland, Ohio happened to have their pictures taken in Scotland.  I have to admit that at the time I was so wrapped up in names - either added them to my genealogy or making sure I knew who was in all the pictures - that I never asked any OTHER questions.

So, many, MANY years later I came across this picture and couldn't figure it out. 

I put the picture away and forgot about it - totally forgot about it.  Then, a few weeks ago I was going through my hints - the shaking leaves - and got a hint for Hildegarde Ritchie.  The hint said it was an arrival record in 1905.  Well, I KNEW that was wrong because Hildegarde was born in this country.  Still, it's not that common a name, and I always like to look at a hint before I dismiss it, so I clicked on the actual record.  I was so surprised to see a record for Mary, William and Hildegarde Ritchie - with both of the children noted as "US born".  So this was "my" Hildegarde!  I never knew that my great-grandmother went back to Scotland to visit her family.

Seeing this tickled something in my mind and I remembered seeing this picture - it all came together.  I know this is hardly a stunning discovery - or even a brick wall.  But it was a proof that the names on the back of this picture were correct and it also gave me a look into the life of this family that I hadn't known.  Mary Benzie was only 17 when she came to the USA.  Here she was, 10 years later, coming back from a visit to her parents in Scotland.







12 comments:

  1. I love stories like this, Diana. Another "ah ha" moment. These are just as meaningful as breaking down brick walls. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks Miriam ~ discovering these little tidbits is what makes it so much fun to me.

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  2. I find myself with similar items and info often now - after almost 30 years of research, and it's so wonderful to be able to connect the dots. It's the little things ...
    Nice blogging. :)

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    1. Hi Patti - Yes, it's great to be able to connect the dots - but sometimes hard to explain to the non-genealogists in my life why this makes me happy.

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    2. Too true, Diana, too true! I'm an Austrian ex - pat, from Vienna, married to an English guy (parentage 1/2 Irish, 1/2 Scottish) with a Ritchie in it which, so far, has eluded me. So, lots of research. I love it. Much to the puzzlement of friends and family - particularly my Austrian ones. Often the query is, "... but WHY..do you find it so interesting - they are long dead, no money in it..." Can't answer it, it just IS. A shaking leaf brings new info - it's successful - shiny eyes - family nods understandingly (not).. "she's ancestring again..." Love your blog. Keep at it!

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    3. Thanks Patricia! And let me know if you ever find that Ritchie ~ maybe your husband and I are related :-)

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  3. What a nice aurprise and a lesson for those of us like me who often ignore the shaking leaf

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    1. Hi Jill ~ I often go through the list and hit ignore on everything out there!! But then when I am actually working on a particular person I go to the hints tab and look at what I've ignored and go through them then. This one just caught my eye because it looked so odd at first. :-)

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  4. How fun! Nothing like solving a mystery you didn't realize you had!

    I've highlighted your post in the "What We're Reading This Week" column on the Ancestry.com blog. Enjoy! http://ancstry.me/UglcTv

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    1. Woo-hoo it's my 15 minutes of fame! Great start to my weekend. :-)

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  5. A fascinating stor , with a beautiful photograph - and it is what makes family history such an absorbing, satisfying hobby.

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  6. Those shaking leaves always annoy me shaking but you've certainly shed a new light on them for me. I'm going to go check mine right now.
    Jeanne

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