What to expect from an ancestry research trip, a genealogy story example.

Communication with real people is of paramount importance, and my research would have been impossible without the help of others. The best way for me to expound upon this concept is by sharing several experiences that have been instrumental in my development and success as a historian and genealogist. My experiences are not unique. I have met others who have had similar and you can expect to have if you will only reach out and request help and give help.

Author Schrieber
History and Genealogy Story Table of Contents

1. Aunt Katie has the Record This genealogy story shares how important it is to follow research clues to find the right person who can guide you and share with you the research of a lifetime.
2. Clues Lead Me to Germans from Russia This genealogy story expands on the story “Aunt Katie has the Record” which focuses on researching a group of people “Germans from Russia” who were the ancestors of my step-father and Aunt Katie.
3. Grandpa Lee Lived Here and Door Open A genealogy story about how meeting a distant cousin who was a family researcher shared their knowledge and research regarding a mutual ancestor.
4. Research Dead Ends in Library of Virginia. What’s Next? This genealogy story shares how the help of librarians, opened new vistas of research when all seemed lost.
5. A Local Historian Knows Where to Look A genealogy story about how local historians can guide you directly to where you want to go.
6. Madison University Resource Library Shares Important Clues This genealogy story shares how librarians and other experts can share important clues.
7. Historical Society Shares Important Records This genealogy story shares how Goochland County Historical Society helped me find of kind records.
8. Johnsons of Stanton County Historical Society A genealogy story about how Stanton County Historical Society was key to connecting with generations of Smiths and Smith Family Society from a phone book.
9. Stop and Ask the Store Clerk A genealogy story about a store clerk had the directions we needed to find the family homestead.
10. Finding Slave Records in Fluvanna County, Virginia A genealogy story about how societies have records you don’t know about such as slave records.
11. Discovery of the Namoi Collection A genealogy story about finding an extensive genealogy research collection in university library archives.
12. Other Articles You May Enjoy See a list of other stories about writing your story and that of others as well as more stories from Author Schreiber.

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30 Days in the Lands of My Ancestors. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to plan a research trip to the lands of my ancestors. I took this trip as a way to become familiar firsthand with the lands, people, and distant cousins and to see if there was information available that was not available in my previous online and library research.

This was my first extended onsite visit to Kansas, Nebraska, Kentucky, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia. This trip and the lessons learned formed the basis of many of my best research practices. I’d like to continue the story here by providing several of the individual experiences.

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Aunt Katie has the Record

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This genealogy story shares how important it is to follow research clues to find the right person who can guide you and share with you the research of a lifetime.

Following my step-father’s passing, I desired to learn more about his family and lineage. It took six months to locate a daughter from a previous marriage. She shared with me that she had heard that an “Aunt Katie” somewhere in Kansas had a record of the Family, but she wasn’t sure how to locate her.

With another three months of searching, I could finally locate her and set up a telephone interview. In the telephone interview, Aunt Katie shared with me that she was living in a nursing home, she was in her late 80s and the last living survivor of her generation, and that her son had the record she had created about the Family. I contacted the son and other family members to discuss the records and see if I could get copies which were promised several times in nine months but never sent. After my last call with one of the Wagner Family members, I felt the need to travel to Kansas and see if I could secure the records. At this point, I didn’t even know what the records were, what they contained, or even their actual value as a Genealogy record. It was a most unusual feeling, similar to when I left home and knew that I had forgotten something and needed to return. I knew from experience that when those feelings came, I needed to act now and make arrangements to visit Kansas within that same month.

Of all Mel’s Family members I had spoken with, his cousin Dwight had been the only one willing to help me learn more about the Family. I made travel arrangements and flew into Wichita, Kansas, followed by a three-hour drive to Rush County to meet with Dwight at ten a.m that Saturday morning. Upon arrival, I was greeted by Mary, Dwight’s wife, who told me that her husband had an emergency and needed to help their son fix his car.

Mary shared some family history work for the next five hours, ate fresh baked cookies, and watched TV. I wondered whether I had done the right thing by coming to Kansas. About four p.m., Dwight came home and offered to show me the Family homestead in Otis, Kansas, a population of just under 400 persons, settled by Germans from Russia in the late 1800s.

When we arrived in Otis, we went to the cemetery. It was a simple cemetery surrounded by wheat fields that seemed to roll on for miles. Overhead, hundreds of geese honked to make their way to their winter homes. We got out of the car and began to find Family members. Dwight shared a story that happened to him in the early 1980s when he felt very depressed and lonely. He sought professional counseling, at which time he was given direction to resolve feelings of loss that were not resolved since he was a boy. The suggestion he received was to go to the gravesite of his grandfather and father and speak out his heart. There was a break in his voice and a tear from his eye as he reached that point. I felt a warm presence as if we had others in our presence that we could not see. I looked at Dwight and asked, “What are you feeling right now?” His response was, “My Family; they are here with us.” The Family was there. The purpose of why I came was obvious; I knew I had done the right by coming to Kansas. I knew that I would leave with the record.

Upon leaving the Otis Lutheran Cemetery, Dwight took me to tour the fields the Family had farmed for 150 years, followed scheduled first-time meeting with Aunt

Katie and her son at a restaurant in a neighboring town. Upon greeting Aunt Katie, I received the warmest hug as if I were her flesh and blood. Her son, cordial at best, wasn’t much warmer than a Kansas blizzard. During dinner, Aunt Katie talked about Mel, her Family, and the roots of generations past. During the dinner, the son suggested that it was getting late and that he needed to return Aunt Katie to her home.

My chance to see the record was slipping away. There wasn’t going to be a right time to ask; I gently held Aunt Katie’s hand and said, “It’s been wonderful to meet you and learn about the Family. Would you be willing to show me the record about the Family you have prepared?” Just as I finished, Aunt Katie’s son started to speak up, at which point, she replied, “Yes, it’s at my son’s home. Let’s go there now.” Her son just gave me a look that let me know he wasn’t happy.

I was allowed to view the record I had heard about at home. It was a simple spiral-bound notebook that a student would use in school. It was a handwritten record of each Family and Family member, and it contained names, birth dates, death dates, and notes about Family members. It was a labor of love. Katie told me that she had spent many hours searching out gravestones and making calls to put the record together. In addition, Aunt Katie showed me five scrapbooks she had kept about her Family during her life.

I was overwhelmed with the magnitude of what was before me. It was in my hands a family record that might all be thrown away at her death. I then looked Aunt Katie in the eye and asked if I could be permitted to copy the record before I returned home. She responded by asking, “Why do you want the record? You are not a member of our Family.”

Then, I thought, “Aunt Katie, Mel is a kind gentleman, and he is the type of father I wish I had growing up. He played an important role in my mother’s life and made a difference in my life.”
She smiled and said, “Welcome to the Family. We are glad you came, and we are glad that we got to know you. You can copy the record.” Her son spoke up immediately and said, “No, you are not getting the record.”

Aunt Katie spoke to her son directly and firmly, “Yes, he will get the record. And if you want to stay in my will, you will let him have the record.” Her son looked at me and said, “There is a Safeway around the corner, and they have a copier. Let’s go now.”

It was nine #1:30 p.m. The store closed at ten #1:00 p.m. The copier was out of toner, and it only took dimes. During my coping, they made it clear that this was the only chance I would have to record the record because the very next day, he would have power of attorney with his mom and would not allow any further information to be given. At ten #1:02, 150 pages later, the coping of complete. The record contained 500 names and has been the foundation for linking Mel’s Family back nine generations to Russia and Germany.

Lesson’s learned.

  • Field research is required.
  • If one family member doesn’t help, find a Family who will.
  • When prompted to search or act on a Family line, do it.

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Clues Lead Me to Germans from Russia

genealogy story

This genealogy story expands on the story “Aunt Katie has the Record” which focuses on researching a group of people “Germans from Russia” who were the ancestors of my step-father and Aunt Katie.

I had come to Kansas and Nebraska searching for a record that my step-father’s aunt Katie had prepared.

After meeting and securing the record from aunt Katie, my next stop was Lincoln, Nebraska, to visit with the Germans from the Russia Society. While there, I was introduced to an extensive library of research that members of the society had compiled since its’ founding which is only accessible by visiting the library in person. With the librarian’s aid, I was able to find documented research that greatly expanded my research. In addition, I was able to receive recommendations from other Genealogists that I could collaborate with. Before coming to the society headquarters, I searched their website extensively and contacted others, but coming to Nebraska revealed that there’s nothing like being in person.

That night I drove several hundred miles to Russell, Kansas, to be in a position to have a full day of work achieving the other goals I had for Nebraska and Kansas.

On Saturday morning, my priority was to go to Otis, Kansas, and film the gravestones of the Methodist and Lutheran cemeteries. In my research, I learned that 16 families had immigrated from Russia, all related. As reviewed the Family names in the Lutheran Cemetery, 85 percent of the names were related to original immigrants, and only 25 percent of the Methodist cemetery were related to the surnames. I spent about 6 hours filming the gravestones.

Later that day, I was scheduled to meet the Schweins from Ness County, learn about my step-father’s mother’s side of the family, and learn its history, where they farmed, lived, went to church, and where were buried. This trip was well planned, and I could extend and expand my research from the information found, saving hundreds of hours of work.

Lessons learned:

  • Return to the source, place, or person only after you’ve had a chance to understand what you found the first time.
  • Society websites only post a small portion of available resources.

Whether you are planning a half-day, day, week, or month-long history and genealogy research trip, care and preparation in your planning will enrich and enhance your opportunities to successfully prioritize and accomplish your goals.

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Grandpa Lee Lived Here and Door Open

genealogy story

A genealogy story about how meeting a distant cousin who was a family researcher shared their knowledge and research regarding a mutual ancestor.

It was 9:00 a.m. on a Sunday in Knoxville, Tennessee. I had driven just under five hundred miles from Washington, DC, the day before to meet John, a distant cousin. We were both descendants of Great, Great, Great Grandpa Lee (Hereafter Grandpa Lee), who had lived in the 1700s. I descended through his daughter Sarah, and John descended through his son Sam. We had corresponded over the previous three months and agreed to meet.

Upon meeting each other, I presented John with a binder of all the research I had on the Lee Family, and John provided his research on the Lees that stayed in the Knoxville area. Following a few minutes of discussion, we spent the next several hours touring the area, learning more about the Lee Family’s presence in the area then and now. The first stop was a street named Sam Lee. As we drove around the area, we saw that many mailboxes had the Lee name on them. We viewed a small cemetery behind a very simplistic white church. In the cemetery, John showed me Family headstones. He also indicated that almost all of the persons in the graveyard were Family members who had married into the Lee Family. When Permit left Knoxville, several of his sons stayed in Knoxville and had posterity spanning two hundred years of history in Knoxville.

We took photos of some of the gravestones. I felt the need to see if we could locate a plot map for the cemetery showing who was buried where. Where to begin? A few cars next to the church, so we started there. We went into the church, followed the fresh smell of brewed coffee, and found the pastor and others in a prayer meeting. I interrupted the meeting and learned that the church was no longer involved with the cemetery, but they did give us directions to the home of the cemetery sexton and caretaker.

We drove about a mile from the church to Coon Lane and found the cemetery’s caretaker. He allowed us to photograph the plot map, which was little more than a paper with hand-drawn squares and names within the squares. Upon returning to the cemetery, I used the map to find Family graves and identify graves where there was no headstone. Knowing that many of those buried in the cemetery had intermarried with the Lee Family, I chose to take pictures of all headstones and later use census records to help tie Family connections. John and I spent the next two hours seeing the land and exploring the area.

As the day progressed, we visited lands once owned by Grandpa Lee and discussed the Family history and gossip. As I left, Robert provided me with what would later become an essential clue in searching Grandpa Lee —namely, that his grandmother had told him that she had always been told that the Lees were from Shropshire, England.

Lessons learned:

  • Cemetery plot maps are crucial to understanding who is buried where.

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Research Dead Ends in Library of Virginia. What’s Next?

genealogy story

This genealogy story shares how the help of librarians, opened new vistas of research when all seemed lost.

As I made my original plans for the trip, I had only planned to be in Kansas and Nebraska for four days. I planned to begin the trip to Kansas to do some research on my step-father for two days and then move on to Virginia and Washington DC for the next 7 days. I plan to start with the Library of Virginia in Richmond, Virginia, and several historical county societies. For the other seven days, I planned on searching for family homesteads in Washington, DC. By the end of my second week, I made plans to extend my trip by two more weeks. I began my trip thinking I didn’t need any help with my research, and I left knowing that I couldn’t be successful in my genealogy research without the help of others.

Preparing for Virginia. Before my trip, I thought I had been very thorough in planning and was looking forward to a very productive trip. This preparation progressed over a three-month period which included making appointments, running down clues, researching online, and much more. I had the dream of being able to solve all the research brick walls that other researchers had failed to resolve.

As part of my planning, I spent a good deal of time researching the Library of Virginia online catalog for possible resources to research. I found forty resources and thought it would take four days to research them. In addition, I had called and set appointments to visit historical societies in Albemarle, Fluvanna, and Goochland counties.

Hitting research dead ends. Upon arriving for my first day of research at the Library of Virginia, I exhausted all forty of my resources in the first four hours, only finding minimal value in two resources. I felt somewhat demoralized, thinking I had made a big mistake by coming to Virginia. Not knowing what else I could do, I asked the librarian on staff if I could take a few minutes of her time to help refocus my research.

I shared with her my story and what I was trying to do. All the while, she was making a few notes. When I completed my five-minute explanation, she asked me a few questions about the resources I had viewed and what I wanted to accomplish. As I answered, she continued to write a few more notes.

At this point, I was curious as to what she had written. She turned the paper around and began to outline seven to ten possibilities to consider in my research. She introduced ideas of collections I could research in various libraries throughout the state. She suggested individual experts who knew more than she did about available resources. At this point, I was ready to try anything. When she was done, I simply asked her where I should begin. She said she would like to make a couple of calls and asked me to return in a half-hour.

Upon my return, she had added a few names, places, and phone numbers of librarians in other libraries. She said that she had been able to contact each of the librarians, and they were willing to help me with my research goals. I gave my sincere thanks and took her advice to contact a librarian at Madison University.

Lessons learned:

  • Librarians are one of the genealogists’ most essential resources.
  • Libraries know about their collections and the collections located at other libraries.
  • Libraries know each other and work closely together to help patrons.

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A Local Historian Knows Where to Look

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A genealogy story about how local historians can guide you directly to where you want to go.

I’ve learned by personal experience that without the help of local experts, I am only marginally successful in understanding and researching local and regional resources.

I was in Virginia with other Family Genealogists. From previous research, we knew the address of land once owned by my progenitor Johannas Schreiber, who had moved there with his father-in-law, Richard Brown, and some friends with the surname Maupin. With the help of the rental car’s GPS, we were guided to a dirt-road turnoff. Now what? There wasn’t an address to be found anywhere.

As I proceeded up this dirt road, I crossed the path of a gray SUV. I waved the driver down, gave him our directions, and asked if he could help us. He told me he knew who could help us — Phil and Salley, the local historians. All I had to do was find their home. The SUV driver gave us directions to go up the road about a mile, turn left at the oak tree, turn right at the third fence post, and cross the stream; Phil and Salley’s home would be on the right.

As I pulled up to the home, I saw a man who I guessed was Phil in the front yard. I started the conversation with, “I understand you are the local historian?”

“Yes, who are you looking for?
“Johannas Schreiber.”

He crossed his arms and thought, then replied, “I know exactly where it’s. Would you like me to show you?”

“That would be wonderful,” was my immediate reply.

Phil raised his hand and told us that he would be in a few minutes. He returned with an industrial-strength weed trimmer and explained that graves on the Johannas Schreiber property dated to the late 1700s. Within five minutes, we found the land, opened the gate, and drove onto the property. As Phil pulled the weed trimmer from the car’s trunk, he motioned to the rest of us to follow him up the hill. Climbing the hill, Phil explained that it was common for families to create a Family burial plot on a hill that overlooked the homestead.

We followed Phil to a group of trees with knee-high grass cut to size in minutes. When the grass was cleared, we found three rows of fieldstones turned up on end. Phil pointed to the gravestones and said, “Schreiber, say hello to the plot of the Johannas and Maria Schreiber Family.”

I was overwhelmed to think that I was standing on the very land my progenitor owned. We had found the gravesite of Johannas and Maria Schreiber. While we were on the hill, Phil showed us a grave marker of Richard Brown and his family, and the graves were no more than 150 yards apart.

The night was now coming upon us quickly. We retired to the home of Phil and Salley, where we spent the evening talking about our families and the history of Whitehall. As we spoke, we found out that Phil was a descendent of the Richards family, close friends of the Schreiber and Brown.

Just as we were about to leave, Phil asked us to wait while he went downstairs. He returned with five Family history books that contained the genealogies, printed in the early 1900s, of the Schreiber, Brown, Richards, and allied families. He had gathered the books from the Charlottesville public libraries when they were being sold as excess books over the years.

I was allowed to take the books back to the hotel, where I spent the entire night photographing their pages. The following day, we returned the books, and Phil invited us into his home. He had taken the opportunity the night before to do some more research among his collection and found several more helpful books, of which I took more photographs.

We shared our gratitude for the gift that Phil and Salley gave our Family — finding the Schreiber/Brown homestead, burial plots and Family histories, and the friendship we had forged with Phil and Salley.

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Madison University Resource Library Shares Important Clues

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This genealogy story shares how librarians and other experts can share important clues.

It was now 3:00 p.m. I called Madison University library and was told the contact wanted was said to have been out till 5:00 p.m. I then decided to drive the two-plus hours to the library and speak with the librarian. When I arrived at the University, it was made known that person my contact didn’t have answers to my questions, but she knew a retired professor who was the natural resource on historical books, and he was not due back in for a week or more. I asked her if she would mind giving the professor a call and let me speak with him, which she did.

During my conversation, we explored several options. He told me that the most important book he had that would be a good resource for me would be a reference book of about 500 pages that outlined all the Family histories the library of congress had on Virginia families. The book outlined the Family histories and the other Family names that were mentioned in the Family histories. I went through the book looking for the Surname, I had come to Virginia to research, and I ended up coping with over 50 Family histories. This resource would prove one of the most important finds during my trip. The references I gathered included significant call numbers, which I would follow up on when I would get back to the Virginia Library the following day. Most of the references I found would include many essential Family references not included in the Virginia Library catalog. I would later make plans to visit the Library of Congress. I left Madison University at about 9:00 p.m. and arrived back at Richmond near midnight.

Lesson learned:

  • Always ask for the experts and collection resource librarians.
  • Resource librarians know about every artifact in their collection.

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Historical Society Shares Important Records

Genealogy Story

This genealogy story shares how Goochland County Historical Society helped me find of kind records.

The following day after I went to Madison University, I headed up to Goochland County Historical Society in Goochland, Virginia, for an appointment I had made several weeks earlier. I had told the persons of the historical society that I would come to see what information they had on the Schreiber and Albert family. As I arrived at the Goochland Historical society building, I was greeted by the president with her saying, “You won’t believe what just happened; one of our members just brought by an 18-page overview of the Roberts Family not more than 20 minutes ago” She also added that she and members of the society had been researching their records for the Family names of Schreiber and Roberts.

A member of the society had heard that I might be coming this week. When I called her to tell her to thank her for her efforts, she indicated that she had gotten up that morning and felt like she should bring the information over to the office. She had been researching the foundation of what was known as Lickinghole church, the first church in the area from the early 1700s, which no longer existed. The founding elders of the church include my progenitor Johnathon Schreiber and his father-in-law. As she researched the church, she indicated that she felt a strong need to do as much research on the Schreiber and Roberts families as possible, not knowing why she did it. The information she gathered includes all available records (e.g., land, tax) recorded in the county.

When I was led into the society’s modest library, there was a stack of 20-plus books marked with over 100 paper bookmarks, each denoting a reference to my Family.

From our discussion with the president, I learned that the name Mullins might be part of the group that settled in Powhatan county known as the French Hugonaut society who came from France for Religious freedom. I also learned that one of my family names was a Hugonaut’s last name. When did I ask what that meant for me? She responded by explaining that while this was not a hard rule for naming in the early 1700s, it was common for married couples to give the firstborn son the name of the father’s father, and the second son the name of the mother’s father. Other children would be named after the mother’s surname and so forth. Based on the name Maxey, it would be worth my time to visit the Hugonaut Society in Powhatan and explore the possibilities. She called the society and made an appointment for me later that day.

Lessons learned#1:

  • Historical societies are among the most valuable resources for Genealogists.
  • Historical societies have experts and resources dedicated to helping others.
  • Historical societies know more about their history than I do.
  • Historical societies have resources that are not posted online.

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Johnsons of Stanton County Historical Society

Genealogy Story

A genealogy story about how Stanton County Historical Society was key to connecting with generations of Smiths and Smith Family Society from a phone book.

I stopped at the Stanton County Historical Society to see what information they had about the Johnson surname, and I didn’t find very much. While I was there, ask the librarian if she had other resources. She pulled out the phonebook and proceeded to look for the Johnson name. I thought I wanted books, not phone numbers from the local phonebook. When I inquired what she was thinking, she suggested that I call persons with the last name and ask if they knew anyone who might be able to help. She gave me the phone book and left.

I returned to the car, put the phonebook in the passenger seat, and left town. For the first 10 miles, I debated whether to stop and take a few calls. Finally, I thought, “Why not. Make the calls and ask people if there was a Family Genealogists I could talk to.”

I pulled over and made five calls, and no one was home, but I left a message on each phone about who I was and what I was looking for, and my phone number. Four weeks later, after I had returned home, I received a phone call from the Johnson Family Genealogist, the 75-year-old patriarch of the Family.

The conversation began with, “Hello, you called my grandson and left a message that you are a decedent of the Johnson Family; who are you, and what do you want?” I shared who I was and my ties to the Family. We talked for 20 minutes, and he ended the conversation by saying, “Its’ about time you’re returned; we have been looking for your Family branch for over 40 years. Give your address, and I’ll send you our most recent Family history.” A week later, I received a well-documented history of the Fauber Family.

Lessons learned#1:

  • The phonebook is a viable resource.
  • Pick up the phone and call.

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Stop and Ask the Store Clerk

Genealogy Story

A genealogy story about a store clerk had the directions we needed to find the family homestead.

I had been on my trip for 10 days. My wife was going to join me and I picked her up at the Dulles Airport and went to the hotel. We rose to begin our search of the original lands owned by Ancestors in the 1700s in Goochland County. From my research at home and in Goochland County, I knew where the families of Johannes Schreiber and Richard Brown had lived and the name of the town. The town did not exist on any map, and we were not having any luck finding our direction. We had stopped a couple of times from getting directions but to no avail. As I was going down the road, I was preparing to drop into the next service station when I felt the need to stop at the Napa Auto Parts immediately on my right. Inside I asked out loud the 4 to 5 men inside if anyone of them were aware of the specific place we were looking for.

The men talked for several minutes, each having a different direction for us to follow. We had a direction, but it was not great. One man followed me outside and proceeded to give me exact directions to where I wanted to go and told me about the mill located there and up for sale. We realized that a few people could have only known about this very out-of-the-way place when we arrived.

Lessons learned:

  • Listen and follow thoughts and promptings that come into your mind to conduct Genealogy research.

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Finding Slave Records in Fluvanna County, Virginia

Genealogy Story

A genealogy story about how societies have records you don’t know about such as slave records.

Palmyra, Virginia, Fluvanna County. John Schreiber, the son of Johannes Schreiber, once lived in Fluvanna County, Virginia, in the early 1800s. I knew from my research that he and other members of the Schreiber Family enslaved people in their household. While in Fluvanna, I asked president Fluvanna’s historical society about being able to find information about enslaved Black people. She responded by telling us that they had extensive records on enslaved people but were too fragile and had yet to be transcribed for others to research. We spoke, and she agreed that she would put one of her associates on the task to help look for information related to our Family, but it would be at least three months before they could get to it.

When I asked if she should be willing to let me photograph the records, she responded with a “why not.” The records started in 1801 and ran for over 60 years, including lists of slaves, letters of sale, and census records. The president put on white gloves to handle the artifacts; I took pictures. The total collection was over 300 images.

Lessons learned:

  • Libraries and societies have not openly publicized records but are willing to share and make them available upon request.
  • Always seek to learn about society’s entire collection of records.

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Discovery of the Namoi Collection

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A genealogy story about finding an extensive genealogy research collection in university library archives.

It was Friday, and I was going to spend my last 4 hours at the Virginia Library before going to the Dulles Airport to pick up Mary and our friends. On my way to the Virginia Library, I felt prompted to try the Washington and Lee University Library one more time. I had already called three times before and could not find anyone who knew anything about the collection. This time was different. I was able to connect with the director of the special collections. When I asked him about the collection, he confirmed the collection was at the University. I then told him I was on a short time cycle and asked if he could have his assistant copy the pages of the collection. We talked back and forth, for which I tried to help the director understand that if he took the time, I would be more than happy to pay for time and copies. Then he said, “Mr. Schreiber, I don’t think you understand; there are thousands of pages. At that moment, I felt a strong spirit for the need to go to the University. I told the director I was making a U-turn and would be up to the Library in two hours.

When I arrived at the Library, I found 98 binders cataloging a family I care about and his descendants from about 1780. Naomi had spent over 25 years of her life crossing America searching out her roots. The binders contained over 15,000 family members with a full backup of marriage, birth, and any other records she could find. Key pages include individual persons’ names, their lineage, and so forth. She was meticulous and showed great love for her family. I spent several hours photographing binders until I had to travel to DC for a 3-hour trip. I knew I needed to return and obtain the collection on the way out. I told the director I would return on October 3. I would need to extend my trip by at least one week. As I left town, the thought came to my mind. I sent you to Virginia for the reason to obtain this collection. Such a peace, I felt.

Lessons learned:

  • Check archives collections to see what has been donated for preservation.

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