Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Footlocker Treasures

Randy Seaver from over at Genea Musings issued his Saturday Night Challenge last night. As usual for me, I don't see the challenge until Sunday Morning! But I always love to try to meet the challenges Randy sets forth, and this one was no different!
Randy challenges us to tell about when we've had a "dose of good genealogy luck". So, Randy, and all who meet his challenges, here is my post regarding my luck!
A few years ago, my cousin called my Dad, who has helped me in a HUGE way with our Bean family genealogy, and told him that she had a trunk that used to belong to her father. She said it was full of "junk" that Dad might want to look through.
Dad went over to her home and brought the retrieved trunk back with him.

The "trunk" was actually an old military footlocker. For anyone who was in the service pre-Korean War, you will remember those old wooden footlockers that once sat at the foot of your bunk and contained everything you owned in them!
When Dad opened the footlocker, we were met with such a treasure trove of items!
The greatest find in the old locker was probabbly 150-200 old negatives. Living on a fixed income, Dad wanted to know if there was some way I could develop those negatives cheap. So I did a little research, and we were looking at a pretty big expense. Then my dear hubby said he'd read "something" about scanning negatives. So, I began to play around with my photo program at the time, and my scanner. And, low and behold, I was able to scan the negative, reverse the images, and come out with a decent set of photographs.

John Monroe Bean, Sr.
About 1950

Above is one of the pictures we recovered from those negatives. This is of my grandfather, John Bean, Sr. This photo was taken about 1950, as he was standing at the road in front of his home, near Waiteville,WV. That house has since burned down. The woodshed is in the background of this photo.
Also in the locker were numerous receipts and bank records from both my grandfather, John Bean, Sr., and my uncle, John Beane, Jr.
Here is a promisory note signed by my grandfather, John Bean, and my grandmother, Mary.

And here is a WWII fuel ration card for my Uncle John.
The footlocker also contained funeral notices, memorial books and cards, and obituaries. For the family historian, it was like a HUGE Christmas present! We spent weeks (literally!) cataloging, scanning and copying, and filing all of the documents and mementos.
That old footlocker was the single largest dose of "luck" I have ever had in researching my family's genealogy. I have often since wished it could all be so easy! Or even that I would have a client who would show up with such wonderful treasures!
Ahhhh, but alas, finds of this magnitude are once in a lifetime!

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