29 July 2011
Discovering a New Cousin
I was attending one of several lectures by D. Joshua Taylor this week at the BYU Conference on Family History & Genealogy when up flashed the name of one of my ancestors on the screen. I spoke to Josh afterward and, lo and behold, we share the same 3rd great-grandfather. Josh's name has been familiar to me, but I didn't realize that it wasn't just because he is well-known in genealogy circles. In fact, Josh has been a member of the family association that I started, and also a member of my Ancestry.com online family tree, for quite some time now. I just didn't connect before now that it was the same person. What's more, he has sent me some of the best stuff that has been shared on the family site. I have several documents about the family that he mailed to me, including early 19th century land grants signed by President Andrew Jackson as well pension files and other records. He was finding these and sending them to share on our family site more than 11 years ago--when he was only 14 or 15 years old! Josh got hooked on genealogy when he was only about 10 and soon after was to be seen frequenting genealogy conferences. He was presenting lectures while still in his teens, and is now at the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston, with two masters degrees under his belt, still in his twenties. As a professional genealogist nearing 40, I was impressed with how much I learned this week from Josh, who has been at this nearly as long as I have, though he is a dozen years my junior. And here I thought, having started this at age 19, that I was one of the representatives of the young generation of genealogists! It doesn't depress me, though, or make me feel old. I am just happy to see that this wonderful pursuit of family history is capturing the energy and the passion of each succeeding generation.