The Best Genealogy Gift Ever

Digital Camera? Nope! Ancestry software? Nothing so trivial! Would you believe an old restaurant menu? Believe it. Our ancestry is almost entirely in the UK so we have been swapping information with relatives over the pond. Between relatives and online sources, like Ellis Island and, we have been able to piece together the comings and goings of my wife’s grandparents. They moved from England to Detroit back in the 1920’s trying to find work. He worked at the Studebaker factory for a few years but eventually returned to England where he became a chauffeur to Sir Alfred Dent. What I love about genealogy is personalizing history. There is nothing as cool as touching the past. We have pictures of my wife’s grandparents before they went to Detroit, while they were living in Detroit, where he worked in Detroit, a picture of the ship they came over on and a picture of him as a chauffeur when they returned to England. Pretty neat stuff, but the best was yet to come. One day we received an old photo album in the mail from England. There were various things inside, but what caught my attention was what looked like an old menu from a restaurant. Why on earth would anyone send me a menu? On closer scrutiny I noticed it had the following printed on it: “Cunard Lines” across the top, “R.M.S. Ausonia” below that, and the date, “Sunday, September 17, 1922”. Oh boy, this is a menu from that ship. How awesome is that. I now have a picture of the inside of the ship, including the dining area. Now I’m imagining them sitting down to dinner on that exact date, in that ship I have a picture of, and selecting between Roast Turkey and Salmon. I can almost see them. How cool to know they were holding and reading this piece of card back in 1922 trying to decide what to have for dinner. This is what excites me about Genealogy. It’s bringing history to life. It gives me goose bumps.

Click on these thumbnails to see the pictures:

RMS Ausonia, 1922 (coutersy Cunard Lines)

Inside RMS Ausonia (courtesy Cunard Lines)

The Menu from RMS Ausonia