Family History Garland
I just went to our local Festival of Trees which has a variety of decorated trees, wreaths, and garlands for the holidays.
One garland caught my eye. It had miniature photo frames with pictures of someone’s ancestors in each frame. The frames were then secured to the garland. The garland was also wrapped with ribbon and vintage miniature decorations.
I recently found lost cousins on Ancestry.com in central New York state. I spent four days with them in October and obtained photos, maps, etc. I plan to make a similar garland for my home and also frame the property maps as gifts for my father.
Force of Will
Locating my Grandfather James Henry Allen and his father of the same name has been almost impossible. He disowned his family before he married and died when my father and his twin brother were only eight years old. There was little information other than some family myths and stories. My grandmother and father started looking for more information in 1961.
One of the stories was that James Jr. had a sister Mary. Through draft cards and census records, we recently located his mother Maria Britton, and from her obituary, we discovered the sister, Mary Jeanette. She had married Frank Bird and they had a daughter, Frances who died in 1984.
It’s sad to think we missed the opportunity to talk with her and learn more about the family. We found her will in Norfolk County, Massachusetts. Her executrix was a woman, Frances, who, according to her obituary, was a close friend and housemate.
It then occurred to us to look for the housemate’s will. Unfortunately she had died in the â€˜90s, but being persistent, we looked up her executrix–a grand niece, Pat. It didn’t take long to find Pat’s phone number on the Web. After she got over suspicion and surprise, we had a great talk. Pat knew my aunt and had inherited all of her aunt’s scrapbooks. She told me great stories about how they met at work, and how this group of women came to live together in mutual support. My aunt even had a bird, and when you know nothing about a person, this feels like an important detail. Pat will keep looking in the scrapbooks for lost history, and at the very least, I’ve met another person in the family web.
By being persistent, we found an unexpected opportunity. Perhaps this can help someone else.
Jim and Sue Allen
You Never Know Where You Will Meet a Cousin
I am a nurse in a nursing home. I had a patient admitted to my floor about a week ago whose surname was the same as one I was currently working on in my genealogy. I told her that I had Wilmots in my family line, and we joked that we were probably long lost cousins. When I went home, I was thinking about it and copied down my Wilmot line and took it to work with me the next day. She called her husband and he read off their Wilmot line to her and she wrote it down. We sat down together and started comparing our lineage and found a common ancestor in William Wilmot of New Haven, Connecticut, born in 1632. How cool is that? She is eighty years old; Iâ€™m forty-seven. We live in Idaho and we both have our genealogy back far enough to find each other because the name was familiar. She says she is sure she will get really good nursing care from her cousin.
Clyde Young in Idaho
If you have a suggestion you would like to share with other researchers, send it to: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org . Thanks to all of this week’s contributors!
Quick Tips may be reprinted, with credit to the submitter, in other Ancestry publications, so if you do not want your tip included in a publication other than the â€œAncestry Weekly Journal,â€ please state so clearly in your message.