Monday, April 23, 2007

Learning from the experts

One of the reasons I read, and collect, family history articles from the Internet is so that I can learn from them - how do the experts find those elusive ancestors?

I've been searching for several "problem children" in the 20th century with mixed results, so an article, titled "From Carol to Karolyn" by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak in the November 2006 issue of Ancestry Magazine caught my eye.

Megan explains how a daybook found at an antique store was rescued by Carol, and Megan then found living descendants (including Karolyn) who were ecstatic to receive this gift of family history. Megan used the census to identify descendants, then the SSDI, obituaries and People Search to find the living descendants and make the contact. It's a wonderful story and a great example of an act of genealogical kindness.

Here's one with even more detective work by Megan and another researcher - "She Had Me At Junkyard" in the March 2007 issue. A junkyard dealer found a photo in a wrecked car, passed the info to Megan, who found a related genealogy researcher in Albuquerque, who eventually found the family who had lost the box of family stuff.

I love stories like these - they give me hope that I can find the elusive people I'm searching for in the 20th century.

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