Barry's Relatively Speaking: The Old Dragon

Posted on Dec 25, 2012

Barry's Relatively Speaking shares the personal experiences and stories of genealogists found in the Everton Genealogical Helper Magazine collection on Charlee shares the following experience.

Due to the confidential nature of my husband's occupation, he doesn't talk about his work at home. Consequently, I was surprised when he came home in a high state of agitation, babbling about some bull-headed lady he was trying to deal with in one

of his cases. As days passed, he became increasingly frustrated. The woman wouldn't meet with him, nor would she talk to him on the phone during business hours. Unfortunately, he couldn't complete the case without her interview. By the end of the week, the anonymous lady had become "The Old Dragon", and I was sure my husband was out to slay her!

On Saturday morning, my grimly determined spouse decided to devote his day off to getting his interview. The office was closed, so he was going to work at home. Therefore, I was to be banished to the branch genealogical library in order to ensure confidentiality of his work.

For me, banishment to the library for a full day sans toddlers and telephones was like banishing Brer Rabbit to the briar patch. However, in deference to his mood, I tried not to dance and cheer. That changed the moment I met the assistant librarian. She opened my pedigree chart book, jabbed a finger at one of my husband's lines I'd abandoned as hopeless, and said, "1 have this line!"

Not only did she have the line, she also had several books on their origins and immigration. I started copying pages from a book she'd brought with her to the library. At noon, she made a 50-mile round trip to her home to bring me the rest of her information.

Although I copied frantically all afternoon, I knew I was fighting a losing battle. The copy machine was a crotchety old relic that was only slightly faster than copying by hand. By closing time, I had only a third of the available material. Sadly, I closed the books and returned them, asking if I could arrange to have them brought next week so I could finish. My jaw dropped when the kind lady said, "Oh, just take them home. My phone number is inside. You can either call or drop them by here when you're finished."

When my husband picked me up, I was walking on air. I could tell by his sagging shoulders that he'd failed once again to make connections with his "Old Dragon". Nevertheless, I felt like I'd been given the crown jewels, and insisted he meet my kind benefactor.

We had a brief conversation with the librarian, and left. On the way out, my husband asked through clenched teeth, "Do you know who that was? That was The Old Dragon!"
I answered, laughing, "Do you know who that was? That was your cousin!"
On Monday, my husband had his interview, 1 had stacks of genealogy dating back to the 13th century, and we both had a new outlook on dragons. Every family should have one!

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