Turning a Page

My grandfather, Edward Wardle Robinson, was an active member of the Society of the Cincinnati (which I always mis-spell), a now historical society that still uses lineage to relay status that has been the alternative friend and foe of the likes of Pickney, Franklin, Jefferson, and Knox.   He died in 1996 but up until today mail from the Society still came to our house where my father dutifully opened it, read it, and then trashed it.  For a solid decade my father asked their roster to be updated through post, phone, and fax but with no success so he resigned himself to the fact that the Society would assume a centurion scion of the Robinson line were still alive and kicking in PA.  I wonder if it was farce or futility that was the dominate emotion in a man who couldn’t convince one group that his father was dead.

Today I took a shot in the dark and asked Google about the group.  He returned me a few contact names which were then put through Facebook and Linkedin resulting in a contact email address for the PA branch of the group and its head.  I shot an email into the dark, explaining the Robinson lineage since the death of my grandfather, and the subsequent death of my father’s older brother who would have been next.  I fudged my knowledge of primogeniture and indicated that with my uncle Ted dead that Richard, my father, were next.  About six hours later, I got an email back from a fellow named Lucius that he checked the Archives and simply needed to add the death dates for the names mentioned and my father would become the hereditary officer for my line.  This whole process maybe took 20 minutes, including the time to find the scan I had made of the appropriate death certificates.  That’s probably a hundredth of the time I witnessed my dad spend on phones, and writing letters to update the records of a society who now in its third century should be good at this stuff but instead retorted with deafness.

20 minutes of Google, Facebook, and Gmail.  It made me feel guilty for not having done it sooner to spare potential suffering.  Still, 20 minutes.  Sometimes I feel like I’m cheating.