The other day, I was scouring the internet looking for information on a cemetery in a nearby town. (It's what I do, I look up dead people, okay? Don't judge me.) Today I can't even tell you what cemetery I was looking for. I got a little sidetracked.
In the course of looking for this now unknown to me cemetery, I came across the information that this town's library carried my family's name with it. The Hulbert Library.
It made my eyebrow raise.
It made me bite my lip.
It brought to the surface feelings inside of me that I hadn't felt in a long time. Feelings of "I need to research...NOW!"
This town is only about 20 minutes down the road from me, and a library with the same name as my family last name, well there certainly had to be a connection. Right? Only problem is that the ancestors that I had researched in the state of New York, had never settled in Erie County (before me) and certainly not in the town of Springville. But it was only about an hour from where my ancestors DID live, so I was instantly curious to see if I could find the missing link that might connect me to the name on this library.
I was certain there had to be a connection, because although my family name is not entirely common as "Smith" or "Thomas", I do know where my Hulbert ancestors resided within the state of New York, and this wasn't that far off (you know, in the grand scheme of things). Another idea that I carry in my head is that the farther back you can research your family, the easier the connections are to make...because let's face it, there weren't nearly as many people in the United States 200 years ago, and if you're able to carry that surname back far enough, there's a good chance that just because you haven't found your one particular ancestor, you may find someone else with the same surname, and odds are pretty good that you're close to finding the one you're looking for. It's just a matter of looking at the aunts, uncles, and cousins.
And that's what I went with as I pulled up my Ancestry subscription, my internet genealogy databases, and scoured my favorites file for every website I could use to look up information. Everything I knew how to do...beginning with emailing the library. If a library has been named after someone, there's a reason why - most likely a good reason. And most likely it was recorded in history somewhere within that library.
I was right. Within 24 hours I had received a reply letting me know that this library, built in 1994, was named after Dr. Lynden Hulbert and his wife, Vena, whose estate provided quite the healthy sum of money towards the building project.
Yes...I was very excited to receive this tidbit of information, but with it came a certain amount of frustration. This was a newer library, and not a treasured older one that had been established for some time. That meant I'd have to search an extra generation or two most likely. (Have I mentioned how impatient I am?) Oh...and Lynden Hulbert? yeah...never heard of him in my long line of Hulbert family research. But he was a Hulbert in the state of New York, and let's face it, there aren't many of us here.
I kept digging.
After three generations, I still hadn't run into a Hulbert name that I recognized from any previous research, which led me to believe that this was a Hulbert cousin from "the other brother". And I was right.
As it turns out, Lynden Hulbert, benefactor to the library in Springville, is my 9th cousin twice removed.
Oh now, it's not that confusing...stay with me while I explain, and get that glazed over look out of your eyes. It means that one of us (in this case, cousin Lynden) is the 8X Great Grand child of the common ancestor (who is Richard Hulbert who never even made his way here from England) and the other (this would be ME!) is 2 generations later (e.g. a 10X Great Grand child of the common ancestor).
Briefly, Richard Hulbert had a son William (born in 1612), who my own ancestral line runs through. But he also had another son named Thomas Hulbert. And many, MANY years later, his descendant, Lynden would be born. That's what makes Lynden and I 9th cousins. Twice Removed.
It's good to know I don't just have a cemetery with the family name on it...but also a library!
(And that's kinda cool for my bookworm / nerd brain to be able to wrap itself around!) But I don't think they'll forgive my current overdue library charge that I have.