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For anyone who’s ever traced their family tree, the process is both rewarding and time consuming.
You can just imagine John Clisby’s reaction when he was delivered an empty Priority Mail tube which should have contained 17 pages of family genealogy prepared by his great-great-uncle in the early 1900s.
"I was sickened, disheartened by the loss," said Clisby who lives in Birmingham, AL. "The document is irreplaceable. The people who put the family tree together have been gone for many years. This information could never be assembled again."
The documents were mailed by a descendant in LaGrange, KY. What happened during transit is anyone’s guess, but fortunately, the documents were found by Louisville Consumer Affairs Clerk Sue Ballard.
Consumer Affairs Manager Jenise Hale (left) and Sue Ballard look at the family tree found loose in the mail.
Consumer Affairs Manager Jenise Hale was notified of the loss. In turn Hale told her staff to be on the lookout for "large graph-like paper about 2′ x 3′ with a family history including the names Irwing, McHenry, Ketchum and Harrison."
Ballard found what looked like Clisby’s family history documents, but none of the provided names could be found. "We decided to call him and ask about other names, and he gave us several additional names and we finally hit upon an unusual one that proved these were, in fact, his precious missing documents," said Ballard.
"Their efforts to find the documents and get them back to me were just wonderful and greatly appreciated,” said Clisby.
Marilyn Jones has been a journalist for more than 30 years and is currently a freelance feature writer specializing in travel. Her articles have appeared in major newspapers including the Boston Globe, Akron Beacon Journal and Chicago Sun-Times as well as regional travel magazines.