A Genealogy Miracle

My interest in family history began as a 14 year old girl. My maternal grandmother had recently gotten into it and presented our family with a blue 3 ring binder filled with pedigree charts and family information she had collected. As I looked through that binder and asked questions about what this thing called genealogy was, a fire was lit. I wanted to fill in all those empty spaces I saw on those pedigrees. Find those names and make our history more complete. I haven’t stopped trying to do that since.

For most of those years I worked on my mother’s family history along with my grandma but my dad’s side kept calling to me. My dad himself knew little about his family roots as he had come from a broken home and his mother had been raised by her step dad. I had some success on my dad’s father’s side but non on my dad’s mothers side. So eventually I decided to call my grandmother and ask her to give me anything she could to help me begin my search. She gave me the name of her Biological Father, a year and state of death, and the information that his parents had died when he was a baby and that is what I started with. Working with that I found his Social Security Number which helped me request an obituary for him. But the obituary held few clues to his parentage. After that I sent for his death certificate and on that were the names of his parents. I was thrilled! But I wanted more. I wanted to know if there were siblings, what happened to his biological parents, who he was raised by, etc. Since I lived in Maryland, there was not much I could do to continue the search though. But I did find someone online, a volunteer at raogk.org who was willing to keep and eye out for information on my great grandpa and his family on his monthly trips to the genealogy library in Marion county Missouri.

A few months passed and he sent what information he found on the surname I was searching, but none of it seemed to pertain to my great grandpa. I had been praying for a long while for help on this line and was certain I was close. Then one day I received an email from this volunteer. I wish I had saved the original copy but it said, essentially this:

On his trip to the library that morning, he had made his usual stop to the section he had been visiting in trying to find information for me. There he saw two men searching around as well. He asked them what surname they were doing work on and found they were looking for my same surname. He then told them the names of the three personages I had asked him to search for information for and found two of them were the same people that these two gentlemen were looking for.

It turned out that these two men, two brothers, were on a genealogical trip and were passing through the county. They had stopped at that genealogical library that day only, within the two hour window my contact would be there. And who were they? They were nephews of my great grandfather. My contact thankfully, collected one of their email addresses and forwarded it to me. I have been in contact with them ever since and they were the key to unlocking much about the family that I would not otherwise have found. They found clues as they researched in different areas and shared them with me. They had names of siblings and places and so much that I needed to continue my research and I KNOW that Heavenly Father directed them to be in that library that day at that hour.

I share this story with you now because tomorrow, they are coming here. I get to meet three brothers, nephews of my great grandfather, three men who I don’t really know but who I love for their willingness to share family information with a stranger. The main brother, Howard, told me a few weeks ago that when he met up with a relative on a connecting line, that relative told him he looked quite a bit like my great grandfather. He said, “So when you see me, I suppose it will be a little like seeing your great grandpa.” And I cried, because I haven’t found any photographs of my great grandpa yet. But I’ll keep looking, because I want more than to find names, I want to know the people behind the names. I feel privileged to be able to meet these distant cousins of mine tomorrow. I’m so excited!

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Comments (2)

WalterApril 3rd, 2010 at 6:16 pm

I’m glad with your progress. I have had such wanting to trace my family history but I never really gotten to the roots of my father. He’s the only child and his parents died during the war. On my mother side, my grandma has a photo of my grandpa who unfortunately died also during the war at the age of 25.

KarenApril 6th, 2010 at 8:28 pm

How did it go? What a touching story! I need to be more involved in genealogy research. Thanks for the inspiration!

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