Barry's Relatively Speaking: Neophyte's Luck

Posted on Nov 01, 2012

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

Two years ago, I was completely stuck on my Jones-Harrison line. I had no idea what to do or where to turn. I did know that my great-great grandparents had settled in the little town of Mazomanie, Wisconsin in the late 1840's. How do you find Mary and John Jones?

One night when I could not sleep, I decided to write to the Mazomanie Historical Society to see if they could help. I did not know if Mazomanie even had a historical society and frankly expected to get the letter back in a few days.

I was thrilled when I received a letter a week or so later from their research historian, Jeanne Mahony. She sent me copies of my great grandparents' obituaries and since then a whole new world has unfolded.

Last year Jeanne sent me the name of David Harrison, who had written to her hoping to find help. She sent me David's name and address thinking that we might be related. After I wrote to David, I was so excited when my first letter from him started out with "Dear Cousin Mary." With his help, we now have gone back three more generations on the Harrison side.

What I want to say to neophytes like myself is, don't think any idea or letter is silly. And a special thank you to wonderful people like Jeanne who honestly care.

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