Sunday, October 16, 2011

Genealogy Serendipity - A Beacon from the Church

On Sunday my father and I drove from Schuylerville, New York through the back roads until we reached our ancestral village of Glen, New York.  Glen was home to many generations of our earliest Edwards family.

I had printed Mapquest directions before leaving on our trip.  I hadn't really checked the route and we had no GPS.  So we had no idea exactly how we would be entering Glen.  It turned out we arrived through a section of town we had never been in before.  We drove slowly, enjoying all the scenery and old houses and stopping to take photos as we liked.

Before long we came upon a church.  It was called the Glen Reformed Church.  I mentioned to my dad that I thought our ancestors had attended this church.  It occurred to me that we never thought to visit this church when we had visited two years earlier.  Our Edwards ancestors had been members of this church since the mid 1800s.

We decided to stop and take some photos.  My Dad checked the door of the church and found that it was open.  As this was the church of our ancestors it didn't seem like there was any harm taking a peek inside.

The church had a wonderful historical display right at the front entrance. I paused at the guest book being sure to include our names and to mention that our Edwards ancestors were members of the church.  While no one else was in the church it seemed proper to leave our mark and let them know we were here.

We wandered around the sanctuary admiring the church and taking a few keep-sake photos.  I noticed that the stained-glass windows had names memorializing certain families.

I yelled across to my Dad to be on the lookout for a window for the Edwards.  In a matter of minutes my father found a memorial to our ancestors in the corner window.  Further along we also found a window memorializing the Ostroms, a strongly Edwards-allied family. What a lovely surprise to find our ancestors permanently remembered as a part of the church.

As we made our way back out of the church we noticed  there were many old photographs and documents along the back hallway.  While there were no Edwards in the photos there were a number of references to them in the documents.

An unexpected journey down an unknown road turned into genealogical serendipity.  Without even trying we had stumbled upon more clues to our family history!


  1. What a neat story Marian. The windows are beautiful.

  2. I love hearing stories of genealogy serendipity. I've had a few myself. The first one that comes to mind is visiting a church cemetery in Georgia and meeting into a member of the church who turned out to be a distant cousin. I nearly fell over in shock when he pointed out his grandparents' headstones, which I had been looking at a few minutes before since they were both siblings of my 2nd great grandparents (brothers of one family married sisters of another family).

    On another occasion, I had contacted a lookup volunteer to get a marriage record. Imagine my surprise when they responded with the information that they were also related to the groom.

  3. the windows are beautiful Marian, and this is a great story. You never know what you might find down the road!

  4. Such a beautiful memorial! I'm so glad you stumbled upon the church.

  5. Excellent outcome from an unplanned stop..proves our stories are tucked away uin all sorts of places. Well done to the church for highlighting their history!