07 April 2011

Moments Like This Are Why I Love My Job

Today has been a very good day.  A client of mine drove all the way over from the Bay area to treat me to lunch and pick up his research report and documents. (Note to self:  this client is a keeper - lunch and he picks up his own report?  Win-Win)

Having been adopted by his maternal grandparents at a very young age, he knew nothing about his father except his name and a general idea of where his father's family might have been living at the time.

My client wanted to know about his paternal line and if perhaps he had any relatives that might still be living in the area.  As a general rule, I do not undertake projects that want me to find the living (contract work from probate attorneys is the exception to the rule).  The background story for this project however was such that I had a hunch any findings would be used for good intentions.   Read on and you'll see my hunch was correct.

Try and picture this scene - It is early 1940's and World War II is in full swing.   Men were going to war, and their sweethearts and wives didn't know if they were coming back.  The men wanted someone to write to while gone and most of all, if they were coming home, they wanted someone waiting there for them.   Over half of those couples probably only knew each other for a matter of days and some for only a few hours.

It should come as no surprise to learn that  immediately following World War II,  the nation's divorce rate was at an all time high. When returning soldiers found things rather different from how they had left them, or were themselves tremendously changed by war.

Fast forward to just a couple of weeks ago when my client contacted me and asked for help in finding his father and his family.  With the background information he provided I was able to easily find the family.  The families in question had come to San Joaquin County in 1907 and had remained firmly planted to this day.

I used one of my very favorite resources - the local newspapers.  There I always seem to find the most interesting things about people and their day to day living.  In was in the obituaries of both of my clients grandfathers that I found something that changed his life.  All these years he had assumed that his father's family did not know about him or if they did, they had no interest.  His name had been changed when the adoption was final.

My client knows now  he was known to them and they never forgot him.  There were many grandchildren for each of the grandfathers but none of them were mentioned save one - my client.  His full name is given and he is referred to as beloved grandson.  

I gave the copies of the obituaries to him while we were visiting the cemetery where they are buried.  He looked up at me through tears and said, "I was missed and I was loved."  

Moments like that make me wake up every day and say, "Damn, I love my job!"

38 comments:

Cathi said...

Just awesome, Sheri! What a privilege it is to do this work (most days!). I love this job, too.

Leah Kleylein said...

Oh wow Sheri, that is just tremendous!! What a wonderful thing you made happen for that gentleman!!

T.K. said...

What a sweet story, Sheri!

Jen said...

Where are my tissues?? What a beautiful story with a very happy ending!

Cheryl Cayemberg said...

Sheri, you made me cry!

Kerry Scott said...

Oh wow. What a great gift to be able to give him.

Leslie Brinkley Lawson said...

That's wonderful Sheri. I had one of those cases last year too. It really does leave them with a sense of belonging to a family group. I love my job!

Tina said...

You need to submit that to some magazine! I got chills and came close to tears, wait, I think tears are coming now. What a special moment, and yes, makes it all worthwhile. Thank you for sharing this...

Tina

Kathryn Lake said...

Greetings Sheri,
Great story! Thanks for sharing. I agree with Tina about submitting this to a magazine.

Randy Seaver said...

looks like you caused Genea-gasms galore here, Fenley.

Well done!

Pat O'Donnell Kuhn said...

wonderful story Sheri!

Pat O'Donnell Kuhn said...

Great story Sheri!

GrannyPam said...

The best pay ever, right? How heartwarming.

Jennifer said...

What a great story!!

Deborah said...

Well, dang, Sheri! You made me cry too!

reichert said...

Good job, Ree

Elizabeth O'Neal said...

I love happy endings!

Brett Payne said...

Well done, Sheri. Says a lot about you and your client.

Ian Hadden said...

Wow! That is way cool!

Greta Koehl said...

The genea-stars are shining on you Sheri - great job and great story!

Shelley said...

How cool is that? Awesome, Sheri!

Amy Coffin, MLIS said...

Great story, Sheri. Thank you for making it happen and sharing it with us.

Yvonne said...

Oh my! What a wonderful ending for your client!

Family Roots Travel said...

What a neat story!

butterbeanz said...

What an amazing story! I teared up! This is great! Wonderful Job Sheri!!!

lindalee said...

Nicely done Sheri.

Craig Manson said...

Bravo, Sheri!

Charlie said...

Glad to hear you are getting work sent your way. Great ending! Do you think the library sent him your way?

Sheri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sheri said...

Thank you all, however I must tell you that I never set out for this story to be a "Tear-Jerker." I only wanted to tell about the happy ending.

I went back and re-read my article and I'll be damned if I didn't get a little choked up.

Sheeesh - Now all of you are gonna start thinking that I like puppies and warm fuzzies and all that. Sheeesh!

BDM said...

Of course you love puppies and warm fuzzies! We know you do. Great story.

Heather Kuhn Roelker said...

Thank you...you made my genealogy day!

Jim's Girl said...

Wow! That's what keeps us going, isn't it. Thanks for sharing. Off to get a tissue now.

Claire said...

Enjoyed your blog article and the comments "Moments like ths are why I love my job" this is so very true. I want to pass on the one lovely blog award. You can stop by my site, copy your picture at http://timelessgen.blogspot.com/.

A fellow blogger, Claire

Becky Jamison said...

This was better than a TV show! Thanks so much for telling the story.

Julie Cahill Tarr said...

What a great story with a happy ending!

Angela Y. Walton-Raji said...

What a beautiful story! Makes me have a special place in my heart for his grandparents.

Joanne said...

I am so moved! As an adoptee myself, I can relate to your client's need to know. You have helped heal a wounded heart. Great reward for work well done!