Sunday, March 6, 2011

Recent Discovery

I'm on a mission to be more organized.  How in the world does all this material pile up so fast?  And for me at least, the material lives in two dimensions:  paper and electronic.  It's one thing to have a paper filing system, and quite another to have electronic files.  On multiple computers.  Pause here to cross myself and pray they don't crash any time soon. 

So I've been trying to devote a small number of hours per week to some form of "organizing".  This last week I was going through files on ONE of my computers.  One by one, I am opening files and then trying to rename the file so it most accurately reflects the contents and then (possibly) moving that file to a folder where similar related things can be kept together. 

In the course of this task last week, I opened a PDF file that was simply named "Gillespie Family".  Well, the file contained scans of some Gillespie-related newspaper articles, some pages of the Gillespie Family Record, and what's this?  A two-page typewritten article dated August, 1917, titled "First Reunion, 1916" by Mary E. Jameson, Historian. 

Well all I can tell you is that some gremlin must have put this on my computer.  Seriously, if I ever saw this before in my life, the recollection is completely lost.  And so finding it now is like finding gold!  Especially after several years of intensive research with my Gillespie cousins trying to make sense of varying dates associated with our ancestors' arrival in the New World, this document leaps to attention!  In two pages, Ms. Jameson describes how Robert Gillespie arrived in Quebec in 1847 rather than 1838 as described previously in the Gillespie Family Record.  It describes how Robert arrived with his oldest daughter Mary Jane, and how they worked for 18 months before having the money to send for the rest of the family.  It then describes Elizabeth's voyage with her other young and some sick children, and how her arrival in Quebec became indeed a true family reunion.

There are no good words for how precious this piece of writing is.  It is written by a granddaughter 20 years after her grandmother Elizabeth Donaldson Gillespie's death, and so it is in time the closest description we have of Robert and Elizabeth's journey to the New World.  The piece contains other clues to wonder about as well as at least one clear mistake.  So we know it's not perfect.  But its value shines.  It glows.  It smiles quietly to be found again and pondered anew. Vive l'organisation!


  1. I am so glad I am not the only one who has seemed to gathered so much material. I feel organized but in reality it is everywhere - electronic, notebooks, file folder and a spreadsheep of notes... Yes I definitely need to streamline.
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)

  2. I am in serious need of an "organizing weekend", so I feel your pain. The papers and digital files start piling up and then it gets out of control. :)
    Welcome to the Geneablogging community!


  3. I love finding surprise files - it's just like Christmas!