September 2010 Everything’s Relative

September 2010 Everything’s Relative

Tales from the lighter side of family history.

All in the Family: July Winners 
Red in the Face
Every genealogist suffers the occasional embarrassing moment. When you can’t find a hole to crawl into, all you can do is move on—and maybe share your mortification with thousands of Family Tree Magazine readers, as the folks below have done. For letting us laugh with them, each will receive our Trace Your Roots Online CD.

Head Start

I went to Chicago for a few days of research at the Newberry Library <www.newberry.org>. I arrived early and was assigned a microfilm reader and desk. I went through a lot of film and was getting up for more, when I somehow caught my foot in the cable under the desk. That threw me backward, and I hit my head on the metal microfilm cabinets. The sound it made, along with my yell, brought everyone running. They wanted to call an ambulance, but I said the only thing hurt was my dignity. I wasn’t leaving—I had a lot more research to do. I stayed and even came back the next day. I’m not sure how glad they were to see me again.
Gail Ahrens
Lockport, Ill.

Burning Bridges
Back in 2001 or 2002, my girlfriend and I traveled 100 miles to use a new color copying machine that took only seconds to copy your scrapbook pages. The office store had just put in this machine, and I had called to be sure it was available for our use. It was, and with a store employee, we copied 25 pages onto cardstock. Then we got the brilliant idea to make copies on photo paper. The employee scanned the picture, but nothing came out—only a burnt smell. The paper had melted onto the copier’s cylinder. The poor employee! Her boss came running out, scolding us for what we’d done and how expensive the machine was. We left the store in one piece but felt sorry for the employee.

Karen Peppel
Naper, Neb.

Paper Chase
I took a rare day to work on genealogy at the library. I was back and forth to the computers checking reference materials and up and down the stairs to the stacks, making many photocopies. After two hours, teenagers entering the library broke my concentration. I retreated upstairs. Some books had been piled on the floor, and as I came around the corner, I tripped. I didn’t actually fall, but papers and books flew out of my hands and over the railing. It was snowing papers. They were everywhere. I was frozen. Then I hurried downstairs to pick up the mess, feeling everyone’s eyes on me. The teenagers were kind enough to help. I didn’t go back to the library for six months.

Barbara Sacco
West Long Branch, NJ
 
Your Story

Fly, Fly Away
I was cleaning up a photo of my great-great-uncle Harry Calvin Nunan (1876-1948) when I saw that a spot on his lapel is a fly. Given the time required for taking old photos, I wonder what other kinds of uninvited guests show up in them?
 
The Nunans were fishermen in Maine and Massachusetts. Harry’s father owned a grocery store, and his brother owned a meat market. Harry relocated west and was instrumental in the success of the New England Fish Company in Ketchikan, Alaska (read about him at <www.sitnews.us/Pioneers/
NewEnglandFishCo/021907_harry_nunan.html>). Flies were probably  so common in his life, he didn’t notice them. 
Deb Arvidson
Harrisville, NH

From the September 2010 Family Tree Magazine 

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