Barry's Relatively Speaking: It Pays To Be Thankful

Posted on Aug 23, 2012

Barry's Relatively Speaking shares the personal experiences and stories of genealogists found in the Everton Genealogical Helper Magazine collection on T. Smith shares the following experience.

About a year ago I became interested in tracing family history, and one of my early learning materials was our library's back issues of The Helper, to which I now subscribe. I learned all about SASE's and sending thank you notes.

My biggest problem was my father who had left home in

approximately 1908 at 16 years of age. I could not find any record on him and his supposed family name of Hayden in the Chicago copy of the 1900 Census Soundex records. I finally did find his maternal grandparents there since he had given me the correct name of Philbin, thinking that I could never trace it. After much "digging I finally found some information in the cemetery records. All of his early life was spent in San Francisco and most of the records there had been destroyed in the quake of 1906. His name had really been Henry Lord at birth, and he had changed it after he left home. I thought that I might find one of his brothers still alive, but was not having any luck. My major field on inquiry was Wasco, California, since that is where his mother, Mary Elizabeth Philbin Lord, had died in 1941.

Everyone in Wasco was very helpful. The public librarian sent me a copy of her obituary, and I found that I had a cousin listed as Grace Lord. The churches were very nice, but could give me no additional family information, the government was the same way, and everyone answered my letters with more promptness than I had ever experienced before. It was still a dead end, but I decided that besides sending some individual thank you post cards, to also write a general thank you to the town in their weekly newspaper, The Wasco News. They printed the letter, and at the end I asked that if anyone did know what had happened to Grace Lord to please contact me. About 10 days after the paper came out I received a letter from a Mrs. Barbara Martin in Wasco. She said that she thought her cousin had married the Grace

Lord that I was interested in. She told me that Grace was still alive, and gave me her married name and information on how to find her new address.

I made inquiries and called Grace that day, and sure enough she was my cousin Grace. Since that time we have exchanged information and she has sent me pictures of my father when he was a small boy. I had never seen any of my paternal relatives before, and it was very exciting.

Grace also told me that one of the other brothers, Ray, had one son, Almarin Lord born approximately 1925, but that the family had lost contact with him long ago, too.

I found that it paid to be thankful once, and would like to encourage others. And if anyone else can help me with this missing link, I would appreciate that very much, too.

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