Treasure Chest Thursday: The Genealogy List

The technical term for the treasured sheets of paper might be “handwritten genealogy.” However, in my neck of the woods it is Aunt Catherine’s List, as in: “You’re working on the family tree? You really ought to get hold of Aunt Catherine’s list.”

A sliver of The List.

Aunt Catherine was my father’s oldest sister, and keeper of the family flame. The List is just that, a list of everyone she remembered in our family, starting with my Haigney great-great grandparents and my Kelleher great-grandparents and continuing down the line. Every time a cousin was born, they were added to The List.

I remain forever regretful that my interest in genealogy didn’t take off until after Aunt Catherine passed away, and that I never got the chance to talk with her in any depth about family history. But The List survives!

The List is a combination of first-hand account and family tradition. My aunt was born in 1914, three years after great-great grandfather Haigney died. But many of the relatives on the sheet, including my paternal great-grandparents, were alive well into her adult years, and of course the running tally of cousins is completely hers.

So far, the information on The List has held up to scrutiny pretty well. Through it, I learned about two siblings of Grandfather Haigney who died young. The death certificate for one of these children has helped me pinpoint where my grandfather and his parents must have been living in 1900, a past source of research frustration. The List also names two children of Great-great-grandfather Haigney who died in infancy, an assertion that likely explains the large age gap between his first and second surviving sons.

Treasure though it is, The List is not the final word. As Elizabeth Shown Mills has observed: “We must mentally appraise the credibility of each detail in each document on a fact-by-fact, circumstance-by-circumstance basis.”  With that as a guideline, The List should provide me with hours of interesting appraisals for some time to come.

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6 Comments on “Treasure Chest Thursday: The Genealogy List”

  1. Lori says:

    That’s wonderful and truly it is a treasure. Isn’t it true that many of us have found the love of family history after those who could tell us so much have passed on? My grandmother lovingly wrote down the name of each grandchild and their birthdate in her Bible. It proved to be a wonderful resource when I began my research.

  2. Glad you found my blog and your kind comments on Willi Schridde’s death. It really must have been hard for my grandmother to have to find a job and be the head of the family. Willi was also in WWI, have you found any records from Germany for WWI soldiers? I have been searching and have not found any. I am interested in finding information about his wounds and where he fought.

    • Claudia, my grandfather was from Bavaria, so he is listed in the Bavarian WWI collection recently placed online by Ancestry. We also have a photograph of his regiment. He was not wounded but was a POW in France for several months. (As a kid, I wanted to take the photo to school for show-and-tell but was discouraged from doing so by my mom, who thought the other kids might give me a hard time for having a grandpa who fought on the wrong side!!)

  3. I have one of what I presume are several copies, so we’re spared a territorial fight! In other cases, though, I’ve been given memorabilia gladly because people want it to have a good genealogy home :)

  4. LilacFestival says:

    Wow – what a cool document – who had the list after your Aunt Catherine passed away? Were they glad to relinquish it to you to become the new keeper of the list?


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