Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Life is good

It isn't very often that I get to combine two of my favorite past times.

Those that know me know that I love to quilt and all things quilty, enjoy researching family history, and love documenting cemeteries for future family historians.

About a month ago I was able to combine the first two for an afternoon.  

Have I hooked you yet????? Is your mind spinning wondering how I could do anything quilty and family history at the same time.

Well to be fair it wasn't my quilt or my family history...but I did help get a quilt top back to a family.

For those of you that are part of IQ...you all ready know the story, sorry, but for the rest of you the story went like this.

My friend Diane (you know the one with the magic closet of tops, that she has so generously shared with Iowa Comfort) went to her closet to find a top to hand quilt.  She found a top that was in pretty good shape that she had bought on Ebay.  Diane decided that she really did need to stabilize the top a little bit so she added at least one border....maybe two.

Here is the quilt top

It was a signature quilt.  Probably from the 1930's... those are original prints not reproductions.  There were reoccurring last names on the quilt..... and one very special block.

One quilter not only placed her name in the block but also her town.

Diane posted in my online group that she was going to contact the local paper in Ottumwa to see if they could help locate any decedents of Jennie Welsh.

I decided to also accept the challenge and see if I could do any research on her.  Knowing only her name and city, I started searching in Ancestry.com.  

I found Jennie and her family on the 1940 census, she was 53 and her husband was 55.  I then looked her up on the 1930 census, there it showed that she had three children and their names.  I knew that Jennie would not still be alive today, and that her children may have also passed away by now... so I then went to Find A Grave and started researching.

I could not find Jennie or her husband James grave sites.  But I did have the names of their children from the census.  I had much better luck with their oldest son.  Not only did I find his memorial on Find a Grave, but the person who created it also posted his obituary on the memorial.  In the obituary it listed his 4 surviving daughters and the towns they were from. 

I spent a few more minutes googling each of the daughters and I was able to come up with telephone numbers for three of the four daughters.  I forwarded the information back to Diane, and she made a call.  

Diane left a message that she had purchased a quilt that had Jennie's name on it, and was wondering if she might be a family member.  Later that night one of his daughters called Diane back.  Diane was able to confirm that Jennie was her grandmother, and that several of the other blocks in the quilt were made by family.

The granddaughter did not know how the top ended up on Ebay, but was grateful that someone had purchased it and preserved it. 

After talking with the granddaughter, Diane offered to return the quilt top to her, and the granddaughter is going to get it quilted and send Diane a picture of it. 

Life is good when you can use your skills and passions to bring a little joy to someone else.  Diane's passion to acquire quilt tops, my passion for family research.....and a long lost quilt top returns to a granddaughter who will have a piece of her family history. 

According to the granddaughter her Jennie loved to quilt.... it was a very good day!

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