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Monday, May 7, 2012

Genealogy via the USPS

I am sure you all remember a few weeks ago that I went to NARA’s 8th annual Genealogy Faire.  If not, you can read the post here.  They had quite a few booths set-up with representatives of the local genealogy community.  One of them was from the Thomas Balch Library located in Leesburg, Virginia.  I stopped and chatted, then made an offhanded comment that I needed to get up to Leesburg to look around their archives for a document and maybe they could tell me where it is located.  Well, the response was phenomenal.

In a few short seconds I was handed a paper and pen, asked to write down what information I wanted, was informed they knew the Archivist there, and if I would be back in the morning they
would have answers for me.  Oh. My. Goodness.  True to their word when I went by their booth the next day I had a brochure from the archive, a business card for the man to contact, and was informed he was waiting for my email because those records were there.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.

I wrote to him told him again what I was looking for and had a prompt reply back.  The reply included a reminder that I could come and look at the records and to give him an email when I was coming so they could be ready for me.  Within 2 weeks of my mailing my check for copies I had my envelope of records. 
These documents are the court records of Loudon County, Virginia where my 5th great-grandfather Edward Darnell Arvin gave sworn testimony that he served in the Revolutionary War while living in Maryland.  A cousin of mine, from another son of my 4th great-grandfather Henry Arvin, has a wonderful website with this document and tons of research on it.  However, there is nothing, NOTHING, like seeing it for yourself.  To me, being able to hold and analysis a document is so much more rewarding than only seeing it on a computer screen.

Best part, reading it and then having a light bulb go on.  There is a connection here between a 5th great-grandfather on my mother’s side and a 5th great-grandfather on my father’s side.  Have to do a little more digging, but this is going to be a great phone call to mom and dad.

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