Barry's Relatively Speaking: Genealogical Bonanza

Posted on Oct 13, 2012

Barry's Relatively Speaking shares the personal experiences and stories of genealogists found in the Everton Genealogical Helper Magazine collection on MyGenShare.com. Alfred shares the following experience.

After five years casual research of my mother's family (farmers in northwest Ohio for many years), I decided to speed things up by hiring a professional genealogist.

About two weeks later she provided me with what I considered a bonanza - copies of several pages from a local newspaper, dated 1870, giving the account of a murder trial.

The unlikely murderer, a respected farmer, married man, father of four children, was my grandfather's brother. It was a very interesting story. He compassionately hired a down and out fellow passing through during winter, giving him clothes, food and shelter in his own home. Unfortunately, during the next several months, this man compromised the wife.

When the husband found out he told him to get out of town. The next day on a trip to town the husband found him sitting in front of the hotel. I guess he was a typical hotheaded Irishman for he went to the hardware store, bought a gun, returned to the hotel porch and shot the man to death. He was jailed for several months, finally tried, and acquitted. (In 1870 you didn't fool around with another man's wife.)

The newspaper report was filled with previously unknown information; time of arrival in this country, names of brothers and sisters, names of great grandparents and the location of their homesteaded farm. Marvelous! But the best was yet to come. A short time later, the genealogist gave a talk at a nearby university. She told the audience examples of her work, one of them being this story which she had uncovered for a client from Illinois (me). Among the people there in her audience, amazingly, was the grandaughter of the murderer (a professor at the university), my new-found second cousin.


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