While checking my mailbox recently a much anticipated envelope finally arrived. Although I was expecting it, when seeing the contents I was blown away.
Genealogists are often faced with brick walls. Sometimes it’s a date, other times a change in a family name or the spelling of that family name, and often a language problem.
Catherine Lev, a cousin I have never met, had sent the envelope. She spent her early years living in Ashtabula, Ohio where the ore boats would be filled with coal from the neighboring states. They would make their way up the Great Lakes. My father and his seven siblings grew up in that large Finnish community on the shores of Lake Erie. Catherine’s mother, Aunt Helen, a nurse, Dad’s sister had always maintained contact over the years. So too, did Catherine keep in touch with her Uncle Karl.
Facebook brought Catherine and me together. We communicate regularly using email. In one of the messages we came to the conclusion that we both had an interest in our families’ histories and genealogy. She shared the fact that she had done the family tree on the Lindell – Karhu families.
When I opened the envelope and glanced through it I was delighted. It contained a Compact disk, neatly labelled GEDCOM lindell karhu.ged 12/24/2013. Christmas Eve! What a gift! Although I was eager to check out the CD, time did not permit, so I set it aside with the hopes of viewing it later in the day. When I finally put it in the computer and opened it I couldn’t believe my eyes! There were over four hundred family members going back to Finland in the early 1800’s. Births, marriages, deaths and places all neatly organized. Catherine used the program Roots Magic. Indeed it was and is all very magical for the neophyte genealogist who knew so little about her father’s side of the family. As Paul Harvey at the closing of his radio broadcasts would say ” Now you know the whole story.”
Catherine Lev lives in Missoula, Montana close to her daughter Harlean. We are about the same age, give or take a couple of years. We continue to maintain contact using email. If she did not live so far away I would give her the biggest hug. Someday perhaps we will meet.