52 Ancestors In 52 Weeks: Pet (Project)

Deciding to travel around the country, my cousin Melvin Storer was a one man family history information gatherer. He started in the 1970s after retirement with just a notebook and a pencil. No computers, no Ancestry, no Family Search…just himself, his organizational skills, and a notebook. He was going to put together a family tree using his own research skills.

Locating as many cousins as he could, he mailed out questionnaires to them…102 questions that covered all the basic facts plus hobbies, occupations, locations of other cousins. When he received word of another unknown to him cousin, he sent a letter and form to them. He was devoted to the finding of family members.

When he could, he would fly to various cities in different states to do one-on-one interviews. He figured he got to see different parts of the country to meet his relatives. He did this for several years and piled up bonus miles for the purchase of the next ticket. He carried all his research in a briefcase that was his companion on each flight.

One day, he was headed out on another flight accompanied by that briefcase. He left the briefcase by his chair in the lounge and wandered up to the window to order a snack. When he came back, the briefcase was gone..stolen…all his records and notes taken. Melvin suddenly lost all desire to continue with his journeys and research. Along with the briefcase, his zest for discovering family history was stolen.

When I decided to do family history, I took along the spirit of my cousin Melvin. Using a computer, Ancestry, Family Search, and various vital state records, I would find those cousins along with grandparents, uncle, and aunts. DNA would also introduce me to more cousins. I would piece together a tapestry of family history. Melvin would be proud to know I found from the Storer line our 9th great grandfather who was a passenger on the Mayflower. Here’s to you, my dear cousin…I inherited from you a passion for family history.

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