Recently, I was going through some items of a family member who had passed away about a month ago. There were lots of items in the closet most of what I expected to find. What I didn’t expect to find was a book hidden way back on the shelf. The book was somewhat worn but otherwise in fairly good shape. It belonged to my great grandmother Lizzie Kidd Anthes. Lizzie was the daughter of James Kidd and Martha Jane Mathews. Lizzie was born in Utica, New York in 1871. James was born in County Londonderry/Derry Ireland in 1839 and Martha was born in County Down in 1835.
The book that was discovered in the back of the closet was titled Farm Ballads and was written by Will Carleton. The book was copyrighted in 1882. Locating the book definitely caught my interest but then I opened the cover and that’s when the real gem of this find was uncovered. On the inside cover there was a notation that indicated that the book was given to my great grandmother when she was 13 years old by her cousin Betsy Booth.
I have been searching the Booth and Kidd families for many years and already knew there was a connection between the two families prior to this discovery. Yet, this was the very first family documents that came from one of the two family members. This helped verify the family stories and the previously discovered documentation.
I had never heard of Betsy Booth prior to finding this book. So, it was off to the laptop to see if I could find more on Betsy and her connection to my great grandmother. After searching through a few online sites, I wasn’t able to narrow down Betsy to my ancestor Lizzie. It did, however, allow me to look through a new path to check out in my Kidd and Booth family research.
The book was a great discovery but it also made me aware of a few things that apply to family research:
1: You never know when or where you will make a significant discovery in your family research. It may not always be in a library or an archive.
2: Family discoveries can answer all types of information about your family or it might just confirm some documentation that you found in earlier search.
3: Family discoveries, like the book in the closet, could answer many questions…. However, it can also lead to new questions.
I believe, this is pretty much genealogy in a nutshell. New finds might answer existing questions but may also lead to new questions and so on. In short, the hunt for your ancestors never really ends. It most often leads down a new path.