What is the most unusual way you've found a family member in your genealogical research?
There are millions of records out there to help us trace our family history and assist us in building our family tree. What is an unusual way you've come across a family member or information about him/her?
To get this started, I knew my great-grandfather died in a mining accident in PA but no one knew when. When contacting the PA State Archives, there were too many years to search for, so it left me searching for information. No one knew. One day some months after, I had a question about my great-grandmother's burial. I called the church where I thought she was buried at to confirm the burial location. Sadly, they had no records for her, but they did have another burial for an individual for the same last name and it ended up being my great-grandfather. I now had a date of death (and location) and went back to the PA State Archives and was able to learn more about where and how he died. This is just one of the several unusual way I've found someone, but one of my favorites since it was my great-grandfather. I'd love to hear yours, too.
This may not be an unusual way to find an ancestor but it is certainly a round-about way. I had been searching for a connection between my GGG-grandfather, Reuben Holcomb and the colonial ancestor Thomas Holcombe of Connecticut for a long time – just could not make the connection. One Friday afternoon, as the work day was ending, I was googling around for ancestors and I came across the name Louis Goldner. He is a GG-grandfather in a different line. I had not found much on the Goldners (and this was during the early period of my genealogy quest) so I bucked-up and paid $18.00 to join the site. On that site found some info on Louis and learned the names of his mother, father and brothers. This was a great find, in-of-itself. Since I had paid for a month’s worth of service, I decided to search the site for other family names. That is when I discovered the Reuben Holcomb to Thomas Holcombe connection. It turns out that a few months before, someone had sent an e-mail to the Holcombe website and established the connection and it was now starting to filter through other websites. It seems certain that I would have stumbled upon it eventually but on that day, if I had not decided to explore a Goldner, I would have never found the Holcombes. That is the day my genealogy quest shifted into high gear . . .
I had always heard that my GGGfather fought during the Civil War, but no one ever had any proof. You know how it is. There are times I think some of my relatives make up stories just so they can have something interesting in the family history. While a friend and I were visiting Gettysburg National Battelfield, I took my time reading all of the names on the Pennsylvania memorial. And there he was. I wrote down his name and the unit information and sent it off to a woman who does research at the National Archives. Success! I now have copies of all of the documents from his service record.
Wow, after researching since 1977, there are so many ways I have found ancestors that many of them are totally obscure. Manorial Court Books, Workhouse Records, Wills, Gravestones, Court Records, Newspapers, Letters, School Records and Estate Records
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