A Life Changing Find at the National Archives

national archives sibling reunion birth family reunitedOn the trail of biological parents, this researcher made a life-changing discovery next to a microfilm reader at the National Archives.

When we head to the microfilm reader section of our favorite research library, our greatest hope is usually to learn something new about a long-dead relative. A woman named Jan discovered something even better.

Guideposts.com ran this story about Jan, whose husband Rich was adopted as an infant. After deciding that Rich needed some “closure” about the identity of his birth parents, Jan began looking for them. She did know the birth mother’s name as well as Rich’s date and place of birth. Eventually this information led her to census records on microfilm at the National Archives (US).

Unfortunately, when she went to pull out the microfilm reel she needed, she found it was missing. But by chance she had heard two fellow researchers mention the same state, so she found them in the microfilm reader section. They not only had the microfilm reel she wanted, but they were looking at the census record for her husband’s birth mother. One of the researchers was Rich’s birth sister, who was looking for her long-lost baby brother.

What an inspiring story about members of a birth family reunited! So many of us experience these moments of “genealogy serendipity,” when we feel led to find a particular record, artifact or even a living person. Sometimes we make these amazing discoveries online. But often it’s when we’re out pounding the pavement, making extraordinary efforts ourselves, when we make the most extraordinary discoveries.

kindred voices coverWhere can you go to look for extraordinary finds? A family cemetery? An ancestral hometown? A major research library? I take similar inspiration from Geoff Rasmussen’s book, Kindred Voices, which shares his many experiences with genealogy serendipity. I recommend it as a great holiday read for yourself or a gift for someone else who totally “gets” the value of heritage and family like you do.

Thank you to Genealogy Gems Premium website member Maryann for messaging me on Facebook about this story! It’s an inspiration!

More Inspiring Stories from Genealogy Gems

Celebrate Genealogy Serendipity (This Book Does!)

“We’re Cousins?” DNA for Genealogy Reveals Surprising Results

Her Birth Mom Was Her Co-Worker! Birth Family Reunion

Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 179 Now Available

Genealogy Gems Podcast and Family HistoryEpisode 179 of the free Genealogy Gems podcast is now available for your listening pleasure! In this episode, Lisa shares:

  • stories of TWO inspiring family history discoveries: a stash of photos and documents AND a long-lost birth mother;
  • highlights from meeting many of YOU at recent conferences across the U.S., from New England to Texas to Alaska and then to NGS in Missouri;
  • tips on creating an Evernote genealogy library;
  • more on Genealogy Gems Book Club selection The Lost Ancestor (The Forensic Genealogist) by Nathan Dylan Goodwin;
  • and Lisa’s thoughts from recent “Tornado Central” Texas on backing up your computer data.

evernote_libraryThe Evernote tip is easy and SO useful: Lisa gives you a quick idea for creating a list of all the genealogy books on your bookshelf. No, you’re not creating a tedious bibliography–all you do is snap a few pictures and let Evernote do the work. Just click on the episode link at the beginning of this post and listen (or read the shownotes!).

As always, Lisa takes all that genealogy buzz and technology noise out there and distills it down into the best, most usable genealogy gems. That’s what the free Genealogy Gems podcast is all about. If you love it and wish you had MORE podcast episodes to listen to, consider becoming a Genealogy Gems Premium member. You’ll get a full-year’s access to monthly Premium podcast episodes with MORE in-depth news, conversations and inspiring stories–and access to ALL the archived episodes from the past! Premium membership gives you access to an entire series of full-length videos, too. Click here to learn more.

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