In my mind's eye, I can still see the records I had once retrieved and saved, the first time I worked on the family of Johanna Flanagan Lee. In that mind's eye, I could see them stored in the file folder with the block letters LEE on the label.
You already know what I discovered when I actually went and pulled out that old folder: not what I was expecting.
Of course, that is not entirely true. I did find some documents, like the rudimentary half-sheet records upon which Cook County entered the basic facts of Johanna Lee's 1909 passing, and that of others in her family. I found photocopies of old newspaper pages with obituaries for Johanna, her uncle William and aunt, Anna Flanagan Malloy.
That is not the entirety of what my mind's eye was telling me. Thus enters the agony of storing family history records on paper. The tangibility is a plus—but the finding of them presents the downside of taking "paper trail" a bit too literally.
What I remember was a faxed record from the office of the cemetery where the family was buried, outlining the names and dates of each person buried in that family plot. Depending on whether I could find another employee at that cemetery willing to go above and beyond to replicate that record for me, I could possibly get that information again. But there is one detail I'd like to zero in on, record in hand or not. That detail is the name of another Flanagan buried alongside Johanna and her family.
If I remember correctly, that other person in the family plot was named Edward Flanagan. Who was he?
Tucked away in another corner of my mind is a blip of a memory that I had actually created two file folders labeled Lee. Could it be that I never combined the two? I'll be checking, now, to see whether there still is a second folder, just in case that missing material I remembered is still filed away.
In the meantime, now that I've found that handful of Cook County records for the Flanagan family members again, I may as well follow suit with all those helpful Ancestry.com subscribers who have uploaded documents to share online. No fancy scanning equipment necessary now; just pull out my phone, digitize and upload.