Giving the Gift of Heritage: A Story 90 Years in the Making
*The details of this genealogy research project are shared with client permission.
The innate desire to know more about who we are and where we came from is as old as time itself, making family history research a wonderfully unique and timeless gift that is sure to be cherished not only by the recipient, but also for generations to come.
As professional genealogists, we are frequently contacted for this very reason—to provide loved ones with memorable gifts for all occasions—birthdays, retirement, anniversaries, holidays—that will connect them with their ancestors and preserve their legacy for the future.
Kathleen contacted us in search of the perfect gift for her mother, Thora. Thora had recently celebrated her 90th birthday, and Kathleen had struggled to come up with a gift that was meaningful.
“I was keen to give her something of real value,” said Kathleen. “I wanted something that showed we value her family and all they contributed to making our family who we are.”
Thora had left England as a war bride to live in New Zealand, and although her parents and two siblings joined her in New Zealand a few years later, there was little contact with her other family members after leaving. She had always held her own mother in high regard, and wanted to know more about her ancestral roots on her mother’s side. At one point, Thora had written the story of her life, but had difficulty recalling some names and details. Over the years, she had often voiced questions about what might have happened to various relatives from her childhood.
While researching possible gift ideas, Kathleen found the Legacy Tree Genealogists website, and was impressed by their experience and positive reviews. She instantly knew she had found the perfect gift for her mother. Excitedly, she placed her order, eager to finally provide her mother with the details of her story, 90 years in the making.
The team at Legacy Tree Genealogists set to work with the concise goal of extending the lineage of Thora’s maternal grandfather, Edward Kitchen, as far back as possible within the time constraints of the Basic 20-Hour Research project.
The researchers at Legacy Tree meticulously combed through available record collections for the time period, including census, church and vital records, and were ultimately very successful in extending the client’s Kitchen ancestry. Researchers determined that Edward Kitchen was the son of Eli Kitchen and Sarah Maria Cook; that Eli Kitchen was the son of William Kitchen and Isabella Newman; and that William Kitchen was the son of William Kitchen, thus extending the lineage three generations. The Kitchens were found to be mainly farm laborers in the English Cotswolds. They remained close to home and parish records indicated they stayed tied to the Anglican Church rather than one of the non-conformist churches that were gaining attention at the time.
The in-depth narrative report was presented to Thora, detailing the family story. The keepsake binder included all documentation and citations to assure that the information contained within was 100 percent accurate and verifiable, and also included a section containing the newly extended family pedigree and family group record charts.
“Mum was absolutely blown away by the gift,” recalls Kathleen. “The stories and other information she read in the binder were perfect. As she read different documents, she could recall further stories–basically doors into her early memories were reopened. She was able to share with her many children, grand and great grandchildren more about the childhood she recalled as a result of the research findings. The whole experience resulted in the creation of a treasure trove of information for the whole extended family.”
Of the experience, Kathleen stated:
“I would definitely encourage people to give the gift of a research project. The gift has an ongoing effect of providing not only the person receiving it a treasure, but also giving other family members with a rich source of information about their ancestors.”
If you’re interested in giving genealogy research as a gift this holiday season, keep in mind that most genealogy research projects are completed within 12 – 16 weeks.
Every family has a story, and Legacy Tree Genealogists is honored to help clients discover their roots and personal history through records, narratives, and DNA. If you’re considering professional genealogy research, whether as a gift, or to preserve your own legacy, we would love to help! Contact us today to request your free quote.