Thursday, July 1, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday: Blogging helped me find my great grandfather who was "lost" for 80 years

In a previous post, I described my search for my great grandfather Raymond Mason Peterson.  A comment from hummer led me to find Raymond Peterson.  Her comment included the World War II Army Enlistment Record for a Raymond M Peterson Jr.  Looking further at the record and details, I figured out that it was indeed the Raymond who I've been looking for!  I've searched ancestry for the last 6 months for him, and hummer found him in less than a day.  This record led me to discover more information about Raymond and his family.  I was able to add two more generations to that line on my family tree.  (stay tuned for more information....)

There are a couple of lessons I learned:

1) Blogging really does help you connect with other family members or other people in the genealogical community who are willing to help.  Genealogists and Family Researchers are the friendliest people I've ever worked with or met.  Have an ancestor mystery? Don't have access to a specific database?  Blogging about your brick wall may help you discover the past of your secret ancestor.

2) Sometimes it helps to have someone else look at your tree and search for records.  Sometimes we get so caught up in our own research we forget to look for a world war II enlistment record.  Sometimes we're "stubborn" with our searches.....narrowing our searches down to Peterson, when the census taker might have written it down as Petersen......searching for the surname Morrison when the cursive writing made it look like Monison or Marrison....or thinking there's no way an ancestor could have been born in another city or state....or there's no way an ancestor was married previously...(just a few of examples from my research).  Whenever Brenden or I get stuck or have a brick wall, we'll ask each other to search for the ancestor.  99% of the time, when I look for his ancestor or he looks for my ancestor, we find what we're looking for.

3) Sometimes two letters make all the difference.  Discovering that my Raymond Mason Peterson was a Jr. was the key to discovering his past and where he ended up.

4) It's a small world.....Raymond Peterson died in Sun City, Maricopa County, Arizona.....fifteen minutes from my grandpa's house in Arizona where they moved a few years ago.   

5) The smallest details from your family's stories (or the details they forget to tell you) may be be the key to your next discovery.  When my dad told my grandpa that I found Raymond Peterson and his father who was also Raymond Peterson, and they shared the middle name Mason, my grandpa said, well, that's because Raymond's dad was a freemason....we had never known that fact.  The fact that he was a mason helped me verify an obituary belonged to Raymond's dad.

A BIG thank you to hummer for helping me find Raymond Peterson!

1 comment:

  1. I will mention your 'Blogging helped..' article when I am giving examples in a talk on the subject of 'Who Else is Researching Your Family'.