Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Genealogist

At first I was going to go shopping, but decided instead to visit the APS genealogical collections at Edith & Central: the old public library, back in the day, across from Pup 'n Taco (which continues to remain in business since just about forever - I remember hanging out there back in high school).

There was a nice, convivial club of genealogical freaks at one of the tables.

I picked up a book on Las Vegas, NM marriages, and noted a man standing within my personal space staring at me. He was from the club, but he made me uncomfortable. He left, but then returned again, and asked me what I was looking for. I told him, and he asked for an ancestor's name, then bid me to return to his table, and his laptop computer.

Not only did this fellow have the book on Las Vegas, NM marriages on his laptop, but another one on Las Vegas baptisms. He found about 15 or 20 of my relatives within five minutes. He E-Mailed both books to me. He asked me to send my data bases to him - he has a collection of dozens. His own database contains 166,000 names (mine maybe have five to ten thousand). He said "maybe we're related," and started checking. Another club friend heard part of the conversation, smiled and said: "Your related to him? That's too bad!" Turned out, a computer check discovered no relation. Or no relation - YET! More work needs to be done!

The everlasting appeal of northern New Mexico for genealogists is that New Mexico's historical poverty and isolation made it a fairly-closed society that lasted for hundreds of years (the only other parallel in the Americas may be Quebec). Everyone knows that everyone has to related to everyone else, if only in the most fleeting way. In short, we're all cousins, however distant.

And now, through the good graces of this nosy individual, I now have an entree into the vast gray literature of northern New Mexico genealogy.

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