08 December 2009

Giving Back

Ok this story will contain no pictures and is not cemetery related. The other night I was browsing though blogs and came across a post by Cheryl at Heritage Happens it was called Saturday Night Genealogy Fun . In it she was charged with task of writing to Genea Santa what she wanted for Christmas. In her letter which you can read at the link above she asked that Santa would grant her the wish of finding an ailing woman's family. It listed her father's name and that they were searching for his place of burial. I thought to myself it's a longshot but let me see if I can find anything. I immediately set about searching Findagrave.com which is usually where I look first for the deceased. After finding nothing there I decided I would give trusty old Google a try. After about 20 minutes of searching and going a few pages deep I came across this post on Ancestry.com.

My name is Clay T. Carlin and i was married to kathleen morgan. we had a daughter born in denver her name is vanessa jeanette carlin.and i,ve been looking for every since her mother took her to Aurora, and then moved from there. and she was born in 1972.AND I LOVE HER AND WISH SHE WOULD COME BACK INTO MY LIFE All three of us moved to fort morgan in 1973 or so .the when i couldn,t find them i left in 1978. if you or any one knowing my daughter please get ahold of me at (number witheld) or (number witheld) and ask for me and if it,s you vanessa please call me.collect if you have to.

Again...I thought well it's a longshot. I'll send it to Cheryl and see what she thinks. Cheryl immediately became excited and sent the information to her friend who she said doesn't check her email every day. A whole day went by while we waited to see if we were right. When I got home from work I checked my Facebook as usual and saw that Cheryl had been trying to email me all day. We had done it!!! That night her friend was already on the phone with her father she believed was deceased. Please Click Here to read the follow up story posted on Heritage Happens.

This whole Christmas season I've been trying to preach to my kids about giving. Instead of being so selfish and just wanting, wanting, wanting. Why not try to find a way to give back? I was telling Cheryl earlier that I don't think I've realized the true magnitude of what we've accomplished here. We have not only given back to her friend. We have given back to her whole family. Happy Holidays everyone and thanks for reading. I hope everyone can find a way to give something back. It seems Christmas has become commercialized and it feels great to give something that doesn't put money into the pocket of someone else...


  1. Congrats! Great Christmas story! I have had this same experience once. I connected a gal with her siblings she did not know she had. It was very emotional for all. What a great thing you have done!

  2. Oh Joe, again I am here with tears. So beautiful what you wrote about giving, you have "given" as long as I have known you, and without expecting anything in return. It is a GREAT thing you are trying to teach your children, I hope they see it. Giving back, what a concept! It falls in line with what has been on the front of my Facebook page "Remember to pay it forward." Thank you for being my friend, I am so honored!

  3. Bravo! Great detective work and your gift of time is priceless!

  4. What a great story and kudos on your efforts. To me this is what it's all about: giving without concern as to what's "in it for me." I like the lessons you are trying to teach your children - my Mom always told us that in order to receive something you had to have an open hand - one that was free of anything and one that wasn't grabbing or holding onto something useless.

  5. very nice, Im think it is awesome what you did, there are many of us who search for lost loved ones that we never find, myself included. What a great Christmas gift you have given. Many Blessings to you sir.


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