I love to sit at my computer checking Ancestry.com, Facebook, NewspaperArchives, American Ancestors and a bunch of other websites. Today I was thinking about some other research ventures that involved on-site researching. I find it exhilarating to touch original records, get my fingers dirty paging through an old volume of court records, view an original will, or whatever the sought after record might be.
City directories at the St. Paul Public Library: discovering other people with the same surname (Cook) as my maiden grandaunts living at the same address in St. Paul. I had never heard their father or brother’s names before.
Civil court records at the county courthouse: finding my father’s divorce papers from his first wife. Yes, she did run off while he was overseas during WWII. There were no children.
Correspondence with a distant cousin: finding out that our mutual ancestral surname was not Dow and was not English or Irish, but was Daoust and French-Canadian.
Family History Library in Salt Lake City: reading deeds from Arkansas on microfilm and finally connecting some Warren relatives of my father-in-law’s.
Genealogical society meeting: shared something about a 1st cousin twice removed and a fellow attendee ended up giving me a box full of clippings and stories about MY cousin who had lived in the same town with her aunt.
Newspapers at the Minnesota Historical Society: finding the 50th wedding anniversary story about Nils Christian Carlsen and Betsy Peterson, a set of my maternal great grandparents.
Newspaper clipping file at the St. Paul Public Library: finding the clippings about my mother-in-law’s cousin Eddie Green that told us he was an associate of John Dillinger’s.
File at the public library in Clarksville, Arkansas: seeing the names of other people also researching my father-in-law’s family.
Civil war pension reading at the National Archives in Washington, DC: viewing the complete pension files of ancestors and siblings.
Area Research Center in Wisconsin: seeing the signature of my own great grandfather in the papers of the St. Andrew Society.
Cemeteries in Wisconsin: seeing the stones for my German ancestors in Fort Atkinson and Watertown.
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