We pulled in the driveway at long last, a little while before midnight. The trip had its ups and downs for genealogy research, but I'd say the best was saved for the last night: gathered around the kitchen table, six cousins and their families took a look at tokens of their family history.
The way it happened was this: one cousin that my husband has not seen since childhood drove 100 miles to join the rest of the family for dinner. He and his wife brought with them a collection of Tully and Stevens family photographs, letters, post cards, newsletters, newspaper clippings, and even a book of tax receipts, that had been stashed in his mother's belongings. He had been slowly going through her possessions after she passed away, and with the help of the only remaining aunt of that generation, distributing the newly-discovered material to the appropriate relatives. This collection of material was another installment in that process--but one we all got to participate in.
I don't think I've seen so many pictures of unidentified Tully family members all at one time. I mourn to know that some of those pictures and documents will be passed on without explanation, making them virtually useless to those who receive them.
On the other hand, I'm thankful for our remaining family matriarch, who did her best to identify those she remembered from years ago.
We did find some handwritten records that revealed a few previously-unknown family names, as well as documentation to corroborate with details I'd previously gleaned from distant relatives I met online. All this will take time to sift through, transcribe to bypass the nearly-illegible hand of some century-removed scribes, and contemplate. Another part of the story is being told, and I don't want to drop any of the details before I comprehend their significance.
It is indeed the wee hours of the morning. It's been a long day, and I'm beyond tired. But, after some early disappointments over the trip, in the end, I can say it was worth it to find these several treasures.