I am very happy to share you with you one of those "People Do The Nicest Things" stories that just cheer our hearts no end! This one really made my day -- for a lot of days.
I fairly frequently (but not frequently enough, I'm afraid) make a systematic search of eBay looking to see if any poorhouse records or memorabilia are up for sale. When I find the original (yup, the original old hand-written, nobody-else-has-a-copy and they-were-never-printed) records, it's a frustrating Good News/ Bad News situation.
Near the end of June
someone put up for auction a volume called
This time, I knew I couldn't afford to buy it myself ... as I was able to do once in the past when I contacted a seller who generously offered to sell it to me at his cost once he understood it's historic value. He did that on condition that after I was through with it I would donate it to an appropriate archive...which I had the pleasure of doing. (See previous story at http://www.poorhousestory.com/poorhouses_in_massachusetts.htm )
I also knew there was not time (because of the holiday weekend) to contact local officials. So, I did the only thing I could think of: I posted an alert about this auction to the Rootsweb e-mail list for Oswego County NY. (Drumroll, please!) Wow! Did they ever respond. (Unfortunately they may have wound up bidding against themselves to the same purpose; but we have not yet figured out how to avoid that in such cases.)
At any rate, what resulted is a wonderful story. Diane & Barry Colby are a "simple" (their word, not mine) married couple who live in Buffalo NY. (That's not even in Oswego County! Don't ya just love the internet?)
On July 5th, Diane excitedly posted the following to that list: "I just wanted to let you know that I bid on the Poorhouse Records from Ebay and WON! Instead of keeping the book, I would like to return the book to Oswego and was wondering where this book should go to??? Let me know what you think." Lots of folks made suggestions and Diane decided to donate it to the genealogical society and let them decide where to archive the journal.
But I was very curious about how they came to make this purchase and donation. Diane simply explained:
And we all say, "Thank you Barry!" (I checked the eBay results and the final price was about $241.00. It's pretty certain that not many official archives or historical/genealogical collections would have been able to pay that price. I know I could not!)
I have done a little arm-twisting (these folks didn't do this for fame or acknowledgement) ... and Barry & Diane have agreed to let me write up a photo story about the saving of this journal for our next newsletter. The only thing that convinced them to let me do that was when I told them ...
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