Thanks to the diligence of my paternal grandmother, I’ve recently discovered that in my family, each of those cycles runs about 30 years.
Among the papers I recently acquired during my parents’ move from their residence of the past 60 years was a handful of letters she had saved regarding inquiries into the Lehmer family history.
Two of the letters were from great uncles of mine, from California and Chicago, in March 1948. Their letters were responses to letters sent out by my Aunt Agnes, who was in her mid-20s at the time. Agnes apparently had written to her uncles, seeking information about more distant relatives.
Great uncles Warren and Frank seem to have taken Agnes’ query seriously, though their responses did little to satisfy her curiosity. Warren sent his response from California by air mail; Frank coughed up an extra 13 cents (normal postage was 3 cents) to send his response “special delivery.”
The next wave of interest peaked around 1977, when my Dad and brother Dave were bitten by the family history bug. They made research trips to Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Missouri; organized family reunions and persuaded Grandma Jessie to write down a few pages of her own story.
Around the same time, one of the North Bend, Nebraska, Lehmers passed on an inquiry for genealogical information from a shirt-tail relative in California. “One never thinks of such things when you’re younger and could get all the information you would need with no problems,” wrote cousin Donna Thomsen.
Here it is – 30 years later – and I’ve taken up the family quest. Fortunately for me, I have quite a bit of information from these pioneers of Lehmer family history who carried the torch through earlier peaks of the cycle. It’s worth the time to find out who might have carried the ball in your family during those peak times.
Photo: Family historian Agnes Grosvenor and her husband, Jack. (Courtesy of Walter B. Lehmer)