Wednesday, January 28, 2009

You Really Do Know Her!

One evening a few weeks ago I received an excited phone call from my Grandson Dillon. The District's mobile library had visited his school and he had checked out two books about genealogy. He told the traveling librarian that this is what his Grandmother does. One of those books was Uncovering Your Ancestry through Family Photographs.

"Grandma," he said, calling me on the phone that evening. "I want to read something to you." He read several paragraphs he had found particularly interesting about photographs. He's been very interested in photographs and photography for quite some time now. For Christmas last year his Grandfather and I had given him a digital camera.

"Dillon, what's the author's name," I asked. "Maureen A. Taylor," he answered. I then told him I knew Maureen, which really impressed him, and that I would send her an email telling her how much he liked the book.

"It's a great book, Grandma," he answered. "I'll let you look at it." I didn't have the heart to tell him I already owned it and had read it from cover to cover.

I did email Maureen. A whole new generation, I told her, see the impact you have! She asked if I thought he would like a signed copy of the book. I told her he would love that! I emailed my daughter telling her what was coming and asking her not to spoil the surprise.

A package arrived for Dillon this week. Now when you're nine the arrival of a package addressed to you is a thrilling event in itself, but when he opened the package he went wild! Maureen had sent him the book Uncovering Your Ancestry; plus Through the Eyes of Your Ancestors (her children's introduction to genealogy), those essential white gloves, and a magnifying glass. But best of all Maureen signed the books to Dillon and hand wrote a note to him, which he read to me over the phone (it was beautiful and full of encouragement).

The Gift of a Lifetime!

"You really do know her," he said. I had to laugh! I told him he could take it to school for "show and tell." He informed me he was too old for show and tell, instead he could call the school and schedule a lecture. His mother is doing that for him.

"Do you know she's the Photo Detective?" he asked. "I'm going to be one too!" I hope he is this excited about photographs and genealogy all his life.

That night, using Through The Eyes, he interviewed both his parents. Using the magnifying glass he checked out several photographs asking his mother to identify the women wearing glasses. (He knows how to get to Grandma.) The white gloves? He used them when he touched the photographs, but he wouldn't allow anyone to look at Maureen's books unless they were wearing the white gloves as well.

Maureen, I can't thank you enough for the generosity of your gifts, for treating Dillon in such an adult fashion, and for being such an inspiration to me as well as to Dillon.

Maureen responded to me by saying, "I love reaching out to kids. After all, I'm doing what I do due to supportive adults. It really is all about paying forward." Yes, another generation, led by the perfect example of paying it forward. Thank you, Maureen, I could not be more grateful.

Maureen Taylor, did you know she's The Photo Detective, can be found at The Photo Detective Blog and Family Tree Magazine's Photo Detective with Maureen Taylor. She also has a website for children called, Family History Kids, about making family history fun for children.

Let's all pay it forward.

I'm doing the genealogy happy dance.



Blogger Becky Wiseman said...

That is so cool! I love it - both the fact that he is interested and that Maureen took the time to do what she did. Priceless.

January 28, 2009 at 5:58 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...


Maureen was wonderful, so gracious. And I know there is hope that when I'm gone there'll be one child left in my world to carry on.


January 28, 2009 at 7:10 PM  
Blogger Sheri Fenley said...

And I thought stuff like this only happened in the movies! Great story fM and it does my heart good to know the next generation is goning to turn out ok.

January 28, 2009 at 8:55 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Awww, so very sweet. I remember being nine and all the wonder and curiosity I had (most of which remains!). What a great gift and what a great way for your grandson to get even more connected to you. =)

January 28, 2009 at 9:01 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...


A movie with a perfect ending thanks to Maureen!

Yes, that generation is more than O.K.


January 28, 2009 at 9:26 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...


I get to be nine all over again through Dillon!

And I'm teaching him to blog.


January 28, 2009 at 9:28 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...


I love you Pickle, and I love you Wyatt, you're the next photographer.


January 28, 2009 at 9:29 PM  
Blogger Midge Frazel said...

Well, I really know her too! We went to the same college for our undergraduate degree, but not at the same time. Maybe my grandson, who is not born as yet, will be excited about genealogy too. I bought him a bib from Jimmy's genealogy store that is about genealogy. Of course, he won't be able to read it.

Maureen is a great person. I am honored to know her and we have fun when we are somewhere together.

January 29, 2009 at 5:38 AM  
Blogger Chery Kinnick said...


How gratifying to have your grandchildren share some of your passions! And, how foresightful of Maureen to encourage that in all of the right ways. This is indeed a family "happy dance." - M.G.

January 29, 2009 at 11:00 AM  
Blogger Chery Kinnick said...


How gratifying for your grandchildren to adopt your passion for research! And, how foresightful of Maureen to encourage it in all of the right ways. This is indeed a family "happy dance." - M.G.

January 29, 2009 at 11:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greetings fM,
This is wonderful. Those of us who have children/grandchildren always hope there will be one who will follow in our footsteps. It sounds like Dillon is following in yours. This is great! Thanks for sharing about this. I can only hope one on my kids will get bitten by the genealogy bug one day.

January 29, 2009 at 2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This story rocks. Tell Dillon to let us know when his photo detective book comes out so I can buy it.

January 29, 2009 at 3:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


This was great...and hysterical, too. He didn't think you really knew her! LOL It's so great that Maureen did that, but it's also so great that your grandson is so interested in the old photos. Does he know about his great-great grandpa as a photographer? It's so exciting to be able to share your passion with him. I'd love to have a relative that interested in our genealogy, but not yet. Who knows, maybe some day I'll be able to tell my niece or nephew that I really know "footnoteMaven" when they read YOUR book. Of course, they won't believe me, but hopefully I'll be able to prove it, too.


January 29, 2009 at 4:15 PM  
Blogger Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

How wonderful for Dillon! I'm sure he is hook for life now.

January 29, 2009 at 5:53 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...


Now Dillon knows her too!

Thanks M.G.:

Saw your lovely face with a group of women I'm very fond of, nice blog!


I hope the bug hits your house. I must confess, Dillon's father loves genealogy as well and is starting his family search.


You're on Dillon's list. I told him he should write a children's photo detective book.


Dillon, I'm sure, thought "I knew her" meant "I knew of her." Maureen was so gracious and kind and generous.

From your keyboard to God's ears, that books on its way.


January 29, 2009 at 10:26 PM  
Blogger Nikki - Notes of Life said...

That's brilliant! It seems you've got at least one desendant who'll be carrying on your great work :)

January 31, 2009 at 9:33 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home