FamHist Blog

Family History Research Hints and Tips

A Matter of Temporary Insanity

There are times when you just have to sit and shake you head.  There are no words to describe the situation fully.   Today hosted one of those events for me.

I have been searching for one of my ancestral family for years without success.  I’ve looked at my research notes repeatedly hoping that they would offer up a clue or initiate a thought process that I hadn’t explored already.  The result was always the same.  No missed clues, no new ideas, nothing found in new searches.

That was until today.  My Pavlonian trained mind was apparently working with a disconnect because when I looked at the name in my records today, I realized that I’d written down the wrong surname way back when.  The expected name wasn’t there. 

When first entering the data, I had written the surname of one of my Danish ancestors rather than the very similar name that I should have been looking for all of this time. 

insane certificate No matter how many times I’ve looked at the problem, my brain saw the name it expected to see…. the one it was familiar with after years of use.  Not believing I could make this error and not find it for so long, I typed the name without looking at the screen.   Looking up, there it was … the wrong name again! 

I wonder how many of our research brick walls are self-created or at least self-defeating errors like this? 

After a few minutes of head shaking, I started searching again using the correct name and immediately hit pay dirt.  All of that time wasted just because I’m apparently nuts at random intervals.

If you have brickwalls that have stumped you too, take the time to SLOWLY read the data in your records compared to what you’ve added to your database. 

I don’t know whether to hope you have made a similar mistake or not, but just hope that if you have, you quickly find and fix it and are successful in your own ancestral quest.

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31 January 2009 Posted by | Research Tips | , | Leave a comment

Slow Burn to War

While researching further information on my ancestors who served as soldiers in the Revolutionary War, I realized that over the years, my memory regarding the sequence of events leading up to and during the war was faulty.

CONSTITUTION P1 Over time the nuggets of information and stories we find about our ancestors tend to create divergent parallel universes in our minds.  The longer the period of our research and larger number of persons in our quest often result in a struggle to remember which universe is the ‘real’ one.

In my mind, the ‘Battle of Bunker (Breeds) Hill’ shifted closer to the end of the Revolutionary War rather than being near the leading edge.  I’d been using a false timeline in my mind when assigning search parameters.  Once dates, places and events are set in our memories, we usually don’t refer back to hard copy to confirm them again.   We just pull the information from the mental universe we’ve created for them.   “I know that.  Why waste my time to keep looking it up?”

When I found the error in dates, I started studying the Revolution and wondered why my ancestors chose to fight the British.   The classic stories from grade and high school years are wonderful, but they don’t tell the whole story.

The shots at Lexington and Concord were fired in April 1775.  The adoption of the Declaration of Independence wasn’t until over a year later in July 1776.

The British won a great victory in the French and Indian War in 1763 and suddenly found themselves with a huge empire in the eastern third of North America.   Governing this large territory was going to require more than the few clerks and nominally powerful governors that had existed up to this point in time.

Larger government, additional troops for policing and protection and other governmental functions cost money and the King of England knew that the burden should fall on those who required these services, not the citizens from other areas of the empire.

Legislative acts began to be passed by the English Parliament: The Sugar Act, the Stamp Act, the Townshend Acts and Coercive Acts arrived on the shores of North America.  All involved taxes and regulations that impacted the Colonists, but that they didn’t have any voice in their creation.  The slow burn began.

The First Continental Congress in 1774 and even the Second Continental Congress that extended through 1775 up to July 1776 offered solutions that probably would have soothed the feelings of the Colonists, but King George III and Lord North would not listen to them.  The Sovereign did not take instructions or input from his subjects.  It was an impossible thought.

My Revolutionary War combatant ancestors were all independent by nature and constantly rubbing them wrong with aloof legislation was akin to a continued friction that starts a fire.  By the time of the outbreak of hostilities in Lexington, all were ready to fight.  The slow burn was now a hot fire in their minds and acts.

Jonathan Thomas was a farmer and seasoned backwoods hunter in New Hampshire and Maine.  He didn’t need someone thousands of miles away telling him how to survive and live his life.  Jonathan fought to win.  The rules of war were abandoned.  Guerilla war was his forte’.

Abiel Chandler was still in his teens when the men in Bristol, New Hampshire formed their militia.  War may have looked more exciting through the eyes of a young man with less life experience, but his convictions ran deep in his nature.  He fought in the war and remained in the militia as a captain for a large percentage of his life.

William Bennett was a fairly recent immigrant from France.  He came to America for more freedoms than those experienced in France.  He undoubtedly took up arms early in the war because he was wounded in the early Battle of Bunker Hill.  He is listed as one of the personal guards of General Washington.  One of many, but one of them.  His wounds stayed with him for life, partially crippling him, but he willingly paid the price.

Stephen Churchill was already a lieutenant in the militia in Plymouth, Massachusetts and served as a captain for most of the remainder of the war.  An able and popular leader, his signature and written messages are found on many documents supporting those requesting military retirements and benefits throughout later years.

William Anderson escaped from the English as a young Scottish soldier who supported Prince James.  The English tried to capture and kill him before he escaped to Virginia prior to 1720.  Never a friend of the English, Colonel William Anderson was a friend to a tall young surveyor who often stopped by his farm on the North Fork of the Potomac to stay for a few days, obtain supplies or just to say hello.  As time went on this tall young man returned to visit William frequently while in service to the King battling the French and native Americans in the French and Indian War.

During the Revolutionary War, the same tall man stopped by for rest and supplies for his army.  William Anderson called him George.  His men called him General Washington.

William’s only surviving son, Thomas Anderson, had fought the French and Indians most of his life to protect his parents and neighbors on the very edge of the ‘civilization’ established by the white men of Europe.  By the time of the Battle of Yorktown, he commanded a company under General Washington at the surrender of General Cornwallis.

The slow burn was evident in each of these men.  The flash to fully engage in battle for the nebulous concept of self-government exploded in them when the relatively small skirmishes in Lexington and Concord occurred.

I’ve always been extremely grateful to those who fought for and established the Constitution and freedoms of this country.  Little did I dream that many of my ancestors were actively involved in obtaining this inestimable gift.

After years of tracing my lineage I wanted to know more about these folks than names and dates.  Finding and adding that ‘color’ to their bare facts exposed the personalities and environmental experiences of both my Revolutionary War Hero ancestors and my other ancestors who supported the war for self-governance in other non-combatant ways.

Their universe in my mind may still need to be refined, but it is closer to the truth now that I know them a little better through studying their lives.

I think we all have similar embers in our being.  Embers that are easily inflamed against those who would take these hard won freedoms from us.

23 January 2009 Posted by | Research Tips | , | Leave a comment

The Kirke’s (Churches) of Bornholm Island – Denmark

One branch of my ancestry lived on Bornholm Island in the Baltic Sea for hundreds of years.   The island is located east of Denmark, north of Poland and South of Sweden, covers 227 square miles and the language is a dialect of Danish called “bornhlmsk”.

Because of the small land size and remote location, residents tended to live there for many generations.  Churches are called Kirke’s and on Bornholm, the design and styles are truly unique.  They are well kept and I’m lucky because there are so many great Danish census and church records documenting the residents there over the past 400 years.

Of course those of us not living where patronymics were used in naming convention may struggle a little in tracing lineages.

It isn’t too difficult understanding the principle when Lars Jensen is the son of Jens Andersen who was the son of Anders Hansen.  The first name of the father becomes the surname of the child.   Just add ‘sen’ for the men and ‘datter’ for the ladies.  It’s simple right?

Well, not always.  Sometimes a location was tacked on to the name as well.  An example is Hans Hansen Riis. Of course, there are many other variations in naming that existed there too, but after a few days of research, you’ll generally get the ‘drift’ of how it all worked.

Unfortunately, there weren’t too many unique first names used on the island … Hans, Jorgen, Jens, Anders, Peder, Bendt, Lars, Esper, etc.  So how do you track your family when there are a ton of men with common names and you aren’t sure which one is yours?

Research takes some thoughtful reasoning.  Surnames are only a clue to the father’s name.   They don’t continue down through the family unless you are lucky and descend through Hans the son of Hans who was also the son of Hans and hence end up with three Hansen’s in a row.   Of course that really isn’t that much help since there are a lot of unrelated Hansen’s in the area.  Remember how common the first name ‘Hans’ is…..   Hopefully, your ancestor had a middle name too, which narrows down the number of possibilities.

I’m sure that there is a very good method to trace patronymic lineages.  I’ve read a lot of instruction books on the subject but have found that for me personally, the best way to find my ancestors is to inventory all the church and census records in the area, compare birth years and locations and then narrow down the probable candidates to a list of names, places and dates.  By adding the known birth date of a child and you now have two points of reference in addition to the birth location of the child.

To the readers, if you have great hints, tips and instructions about researching ancestors who used patronymics as a naming convention, leave a note and links on this post so we can all benefit from your knowledge.

I rely on touring the ancestral locations and look for probable migratory patterns.  I’ve described using Google Earth as a research tool in other postings.  It is my constant companion when I’m doing research farther back in time.   I plot the results of ‘probable’ or ‘possibles’ individuals and locations, save the file and add the known locations.

The visual representation helps in the quest.  Granted, folks may have moved long distances back then, but usually the ‘distance movers’ are few in numbers.  Most folks stayed in a fairly small radius on a map.  You just need the town and parish names so you can start your search.

During the evenings this week, I’ve toured all the churches, graveyards and farmlands where my ancestors lived on Bornholm using Google Earth.   Thanks to other users who have posted photos of the locations and have attached them to the database, I’ve had a grand time.  Although the smells and ambiance were missing, my imagination filled in a lot of the blanks.   I can still smell the fish smoke houses when I think about them.

If you’d like to take a quick tour of the churches that served my ancestors using Google Earth, click here.  Once the program launches, just click on Tools > Play Tour.  (Yes, I’m assuming you already have the free Google Earth program installed on your computer).

Have you created files of the birth, marriage, death and burial locations of your family yet?  If not, go for it.   It is easy and you’ll quickly find out how useful this tool is in your research and ancestral remembrance.

If you’d like a quick photo tour of the beautiful and unique Bornholm island and its buildings, play the video below.

20 December 2008 Posted by | Research Tips | , , , | Leave a comment

If Wishes Were…..

christmas_tree

We all have certain presents we’d like to receive for Christmas but know that they’ll probably never actually appear.

In 1986 I made slight detour coming home from business meetings in northern California and stopped in Angel’s Camp, California to meet a long lost cousin.   When I arrived, I found him teaching tennis to some youth on a tennis court, sweaty, a little winded and extremely busy.

The Diary

My cousin, Gerald Turner, had inherited two precious possessions from our common great grandfather.  I asked to see David Lewis Drew’s diary.  He pointed toward his office and said go ahead look at them.  The diary was small, about 4″ x 6″ and an inch thick.  It was filled with entries from David’s first year in California during the Gold Rush in Calaveras County.   I took two photos of the pages with the little disposable camera I had purchased after my camera died two days earlier, hoping they would turn out and I’d at least have a sample of grandpa’s writing.  Neither of the photos were readable after the film was developed but the photo of the old secretary was ok.

I thanked Gerald for allowing me to see and handle them.  During our closing remarks, I mentioned that I’d love have them if he ever decided to dispose of them and emphasized that the diary was especially precious in my opinion.   He said that he’d like to see them stay in the family, shook hands and turned to greet the next tennis class that had just arrived.

Gerald died not too long afterward and I was called by his estate attorney asking if I wanted anything from his estate.   I replied that I wanted the journal and would love to have the secretary.   The phone was silent for a few moments and then he said that he was sorry, but that neither item was in the estate.

Where had they gone?  He promised to look into it but was never able to find what happened to them.  I had touched and briefly read pages in the diary.   How I wish it would show up under the tree this Christmas.  It is priceless to me but probably just junk to almost everyone else.

The Box of Records

While reading letters Gerald’s sister, Hattie, had written to my mother, she mentioned that her mother had all of the genealogical records and documents that our great aunt, Julia Drew Tower had collected during her life including items given her by our Tirrill aunts in Stewartstown, New Hampshire.

They were stored in an old box in Hattie’s mothers home.   When she died the box disappeared.   Hattie’s letter listed the items in the box and I wished I could see and copy them.   I’m sick that they were probably thrown away.   Again, they were probably just trash to others, but would be like diamonds to me.    I’d be ecstatic if the box and contents showed up under the tree this year.  How I wish they would…

The Miracles

Walking down the hall to my office today, I stopped to look at all the large old photos of my ancestors hanging on the walls.  I still can’t believe that I have them.

When I was about seven, my mother took me with her to my grandfathers house.   Her siblings were cleaning ‘stuff’ out of the old home and tearing down the old barn.   The old trash wood from the barn and much of the ‘stuff’ from inside the home were tossed into a fire so it didn’t have to be hauled off to a garbage dump.

Old magazines, clothing, stacks of family papers and other items were quickly dispatched before we arrived.  My mother was disturbed that they had been destroyed before she had a chance to look through them for ancestral records and mementos from her youth.  We wished we’d arrived earlier to intervene.

When were getting ready to leave, she suddenly had an idea.  Maybe something was still left in the attic behind the trap door.  Crawling up on the sink in the bathroom, I tipped the attic door open and crawled up into the dusty and dank attic space.   I didn’t have a flashlight, so I used my hands to feel around to find anything left there.

Mom’s intuition was right.  There were dusty old framed photos leaning against a rafter brace behind the door that you wouldn’t see unless looking for them specifically.   The photos were of my great grandparents and second great grandparents.  Wow!  I found treasure.

When lowering them down though the opening, I saw tears came to mom’s eyes.   She was delighted that they hadn’t been burned.   Eventually, she gave them to me, knowing how much I’d treasure them.

Ten years ago, my wife received a call from her great aunt saying that if she would come up to her home over the weekend she would give her some genealogy items that she would enjoy.  Once again, good fortune came to our family.  She received the same type of large old photos of her ancestors that I’d received years ago too.

Christmas came early when we received our respective ancestral photos.   We couldn’t imagine gifts of such magnificence.  Treasure!

This holiday season, verbalize your own ancestral gift wishes.   Some times, if wishes were …. they actually come true.

Start your list today.   Dear Santa…….  I want …..

5 December 2008 Posted by | Diaries, Research Tips | , | Leave a comment

Keeping a Diary and Other Records

Since you are interested in family history, you need to be sure to keep your own living history on a regular, hopefully daily, basis.

The sad news we see today of bank failures, stock market plunges and countries falling into bankruptcy bring back memories of a very bad time in the world in the late 1920’s – early 1930’s.   great_depression

The Great Depression destroyed many fortunes and seriously impacted the lives of millions of people worldwide.

My siblings were alive at that time, but but being considerably younger I only know about its impact through family stories.  Or so I thought.

Recently, I reviewed the genealogical information my mother gave me and found an old account book that my parents and grandparents kept.  The entries tell the story.

My parents had to move back on the farm when my father lost his job as a miner.  The only lodging available to them was an old run down log cabin in Fort Canyon.  Mom said that they spent days filling the gaps between the logs with mud mixed with straw to block out the wind.

They covered the walls of the children’s bedroom with comic pages from old newspapers because they couldn’t afford anything else.

Dad worked for his cousin Dewey Bennett to earn some hard cash.  The account book entries tell the story for April, 1930.

Ten entries for cultivating for 8 hours a day.

One entry for hauling manure to the fields for 8 hours.

Seven entries for plowing the fields for 8 hours.

For all of this work, he was paid $42.50 of which $20.15 was returned to Dewey for rent and farm produce to eat.  Another $14.30 was paid to the doctor and $7.00 for clothing.  That left mom and dad with $6.85 cash to spend to support their three children for the month.

When the sheriff and posse came asking for dad’s help in finding the deer poacher, he readily agreed.  After a very long day, they returned home empty handed.  The poacher had eluded capture.   Little did the sheriff know that while my father was leading the group as far away from the cabin as possible, my mother was busy bottling the meat from the deer so her family would have something to eat.

I sincerely hope we don’t see conditions like that again.  Few people have farms today that can offer lodging and food in a failed economy.

Can I support my own family in similar conditions?   I don’t know.  I hope I don’t have to find out, but know that it is possible, thanks to my fathers handwritten entries in the old account book.

Do you have similar stories, old diaries, account books, family bibles, etc., in your possession?   If so, protect them like they are gold, but don’t forget to mine the family history ‘gold’ from them at the same time.

9 October 2008 Posted by | Diaries, Journals, Research Tips | , , | Leave a comment

On The Street Where You Lived

I’ve spent many days walking down the streets and visiting the homes where my ancestors lived.  Unlike the song, I can’t claim that I’ve “often walked” on those streets in most cases, but I have walked on many of them for in essence the same reason ….. Love.   Love of my ancestors and my interest in who they were, where they lived, worked, died and are buried.

Like most of you, I’ve spent thousands of hours searching for their records and with any luck photos of them and places associated with them.  Irregardless of my success in these efforts, the words on paper and the images don’t tell me enough about them.

I knew that my Drew ancestors lived near Plymouth Rock for many generations and that their sail making shop was even closer, but until I stood on the porch of their home and looked across the green down to the bay, the words on my records had limited life.

Hours turned into days walking where so many of my Bradford, Brewster, Burgess, Churchill, Drew, and dozens of other ancestral families lived, walked and shopped over the centuries in Plymouth and the surrounding towns.

The same was true in Salem, Haverhill, Yarmouth, Bristol, Stewartstown and over 100 other communities in New England.

Grandma Susanna Martin was tried and hung in Salem along with two aunts.  William Tirrill was an original settler in Stewartstown and the list could go on for pages and pages just like your lists would do.

Touching their tombstones I tried to picture the emotions of the family and friends who stood on Drew_burial_hill_headstone the same ground when they were buried.  The scenes came to life in my mind’s eye.  A freeze frame of those attending the funeral appeared in the images in my mind time after time, in town after town.  I could walk around in it, peering into the faces, often recognizing them by name.  Then the scenes became overlays allowing the nearby stones that now stood as sentinels over their remains to be visible.

Was a photo of their stones enough?  No.  I had to gently touch them and establish a connection.  I had to clean the weeds or tall grass away.  I had to prop them up when they were in danger of collapsing to the ground.

Many town clerks allowed me to hold and touch the original records books.  I touched my ancestors family birth, marriage and death entries in them.

A marriage of my 3rd great grandparents appeared on the page.  I touched it thinking of the young couple standing in front of the same book giving their names and marriage intentions and dates to the clerk.  Did the clerk have any idea how precious his writing would be to someone two centuries later or was he bored with the whole process and wrote quickly to get it done so he could get on to something else?  Did he congratulate them?   Was there laughter, back slaps and hand shakes of congratulations?

200 years later, there were a few tears and a huge smile in evidence when I touched the ink laid down by the quill points and brass nibs so long ago.

I’m sure the emotions exhibited when deaths were reported were of a much different nature, but the clerk would feel the intensity of loss lift when the information of the new babies in the town were brought in by proud parents to be recorded.

The time and expense to travel to locations associated with my ‘roots’ was money well spent.  Nay, it was essential that I do it.

So, 51 Pleasant Street in Plymouth, hanging hill in Salem, Piper Hill Cemetery in Stewartstown, Drew home in Copperopolis, and all the other locations around the U.S. and world that allowed my ancestors feet to pass, Thank You!  Thanks a second time for standing as witness of them today and allowing yet another generation of feet from the family to pass by as well.

3 September 2008 Posted by | Research Tips | | Leave a comment

Now, Who Is That?

Some of us have discovered that we forget things from time to time or maybe all of the time. I’ve been looking through some photos that we took ‘not that long ago’ and although I recognized the faces, I don’t have a clue about the names of some of the people. Thinking that the memory loss was just a ‘recent’ affliction, I began to look through old photos hoping to find a photo of my subject when she was young. Well, it appears that my ‘software’ failure extends beyond farther back than I thought. I’ve had the old photos for a long time and know the scenes well, but the names….. Maybe they’ll float to the surface of my memory tomorrow if I look at the photos again. I hope.

How have you labeled your family photos over the years? My mother used to write on the face of the photos with a pen listing names and dates and sometimes location names. I’ve always hated seeing the photos defaced this way but am very happy that she wrote the names, etc., down. If she hadn’t, I don’t think anyone alive would know the names of the folks in the old photos even if they are of then young aunts and uncles, etc.

There are probably a number of ways to record names, dates and places shown on photos. I’ve long used a system that works for me and thus far hasn’t produced any negative effects on the photo.

I’ve created a template for Avery Labels on my computer and print the photo information to the labels using a laser printer. I then put the printed labels the back of the photos. If any professional or similarly trained folks read this note, they’ll probably be alarmed to read my method. I welcome their constructive comments if that is true.

The folks on RootsWeb / GenTrek have written a good article on the subject that you’ll want to read. Please also note the three links at the bottom of the page. The related pages will be very useful in making your own photo labeling decision.

In addition to my labels, I also scan the photos. The digital images are saved on all of the computers in our home and I also burn them to archival DVD’s. A copy of these DVD’s is kept at home and another is given to our children in rotation.

An additional benefit of the digital photos is that you can embed the names, locations, etc. in the image data itself.

As an example, if you have the free Irfanview software on your computer, the data can be entered in in the Comments section of the photo information. In this case, just go to Image > Information > Comment. You can also add the info in the IPTC section. While there, list ownership, copyrights, etc., for the photos and images.

Other imaging software has similar tools so you can view or record this data. You’ll just have to take a few minutes and find the ‘Information’ selection in your application.

Be aware that not all applications can or will show the data you enter in these sections however. To find out, try looking at the images that have your comments, IPTC info, etc., using the various imaging applications that you have on your computer. Can you see the data you entered? If not, write it in another section of the photo information tags.

You may want to also try the free Faststone Image Viewer. See if you can read the data in your image file by pointing your mouse to the right side of the screen when it is being displayed.

Regardless of your digital information recording method, you’ll still need to decide on a plan that lets you physically see the titles, names, dates, etc., about your photos. The physical information has a much better chance of surviving the changes in software, etc., that naturally occur over time.

If you have a good system that works for you, please let me know so it can be shared with other readers of this blog.

Here’s a great tune that explores the opportunities that my over 40 memory enjoys every day. I think you may find that the song was written about you too!

30 September 2007 Posted by | Research Tips | | 1 Comment

A Matter of Perspective

I found this information some time ago and can’t confirm the original publisher other than those noted in the article below. As we read census, personal historical records and other personal artifacts about our ancestors, we ‘think’ we understand the context of most of the categories on the documents.

Earlier this year, I started employment with a company that uses specialized software tools. I’ve been involved with and certified in computer hardware, software and networking tools for many years and thought I understood the terms used in that field. That assumption wasn’t true in the new job. Many of the terms they use have radically different meanings than the common usage assigned to them in other industries. Similar issues exist in historical records and documents. Be sure you research the true intent of line and column headings, frequently used terms and other idioms used at the time the document was created before you ‘assume’ you understand what the document is truly saying.

Here’s a great example of a current day assumption being wrong.

“Remember when our grandparents, great-grandparents

30 August 2007 Posted by | Research Tips | | 1 Comment

Reading Old Handwriting

If you have ever found old documents related to your family, you’ve probably struggled to read the writing on them. I’ve puzzled over the interpretation of an old blessing document for several years with little progress. After spending an hour studying the document, I’ll lay it down for a week or month and then try to add additional words to my transcription. Often the rest period frees my mind from the interpretation that I’ve ‘locked’ in my brain and previously undecipherable words become readable.

Several methods to help us read old documents are available to all of us. Study the way the vowels are shaped throughout the document. Trace them and write them down with a alphabetic key by their side. Next, explore the document for other letters that are recognizable and add them to your list. Soon, you’ll have enough characters defined that you can interpolate the words in the document even if you can’t read some or even many of the letters.

Search the web and local family history supply stores for example lists of old writing with the alphabet listed down the side. Add these tools to your research quiver. Below is an example of 1800 English writing with the associated alphabetic letters listed in rows. Yes, it sometimes takes a lot of time to transcribe old documents, but they often provide the key items that lead us to knocking down ‘brick walls’ in our ancestral quest.

29 July 2007 Posted by | Research Tips | | Leave a comment

The Unexpected Photo

Family history researchers often encounter unexpected ‘finds’ related to their research. Recently, our daughter stopped in at a local bakery to pickup a few favorite ‘honey buns’ for her family. Looking at the signs of the few businesses between her vehicle and the bakery, she saw a 3ft by 4ft photo of her grandfather and great aunt in front of a small photographers shop. The photo was taken in 1917 and was being used to advertise restoration of old damaged photographs.

She immediately called me to confirm the identity of the two young people the photo. Yes, they were my father and aunt. Our family had a small old aged and worn copy of the photo but had no idea that another copy existed.

Apparently, a copy of the original photo was in the archives of the American Fork library and when they cleaned out their files, they gave the photo to the owner of the photo shop. He thought that it would be the perfect subject of an advertisement showing his ability to restore old photos for customers.

My wife subsequently purchased a 8″x10″ copy of the photo and now our family has a very good photo of my father and aunt as youngsters.

What were the odds of me holding a precious copy of the long lost photo of my father a few minutes ago? High to non-existent! But… when we are involved in family history research the rules associated with odds making don’t seem to follow the norm. Maybe they originate somewhere in string theory.

In my experience, when we work hard to find our ancestors, we frequently encounter similar ‘fantastic’ finds. Photos magically appear, family records surface and brick walls in our research crumble unexpectedly. If you haven’t already enjoyed similar finds, stay focused in your search and expect items to unexpectedly appear from a hidden dimension.

7 July 2007 Posted by | Photos, Research Tips | , , | 1 Comment