A Million Little Breakthroughs

Obit Photo

Photo from the obituary of Thomas Lindsay.

Ah the wonderful experience of teething—nothing helps new parents to catch up on sleep than when their child has their first tooth come in! Our poor little guy had his come in this week, so he’s been in a bit of pain, but he’s handling it like a trooper. Also, my wife and I went to pick up new running shoes, so let the marathon training begin!

I’m happy to say that this past week I finally made contact with living relatives! I traded a few emails with my third cousin on the Parotto side. I shared what I knew about our ancestors and she shared her research. It turns out she has the exact same tree that I’d been given a year ago—the one that got me started on this genealogy journey. It sounds like my grandfather’s cousin, who made the tree, shared copies with the whole family. I hope one day I can do the same for all of my relatives. After my third cousin sent me the tree, I sent her some old pictures of the family. She was thrilled to get them, and said she would check with her family to see if they had any old photos to share. Hopefully I’ll be able to add some new photos to my tree.

I also found a phone number in an online directory for who someone I thought was my grandfather’s cousin on my Blake side (mentioned last week). With a little trepidation I dialed the number…and was pleasantly surprised to find out that it really was her! I talked with her about some of my findings, and she shared a few memories of her aunts and uncles. She told me that her son did some family history research some time ago, so I left my number with her. She is going to have her son call me so we can compare notes.

My good fortune didn’t stop there… I started a 30-day trial subscription to GenealogyBank.com, the online historical newspaper sites. About 20 minutes into browsing, I found an obituary for my Great-great-grandfather William Lindsay’s brother, Thomas. He lived to be 100 years old! He left San Francisco for Alaska during the gold rush to seek his fortunes, but later returned to San Francisco after the great earthquake of 1906 to help rebuild the city where much of his family still lived. The story also said he was a mason, just like my great uncle and his father. There was even a picture of him that bore a striking resemblance to my great uncle. I forwarded a copy of the obituary to my great uncle, and he was very excited to read through it.

As you can see, my plans to be more focused in my research have gone out the window once again. Next week I start two new Family Tree University classes—Find Your German Roots and Mastering Genealogy Research in Court Records. I have some unexplored German roots on my mom’s side to explore, and with my planned trip to Detroit to research the Blake tree, the court records class should be a huge help.

Have a great week everyone!

Family Tree Firsts is an ongoing blog series featuring newbie genealogist Brian Parotto of Hampshire, Ill.

Here are some of the tools Brian is using to launch his genealogy education. Check them out:

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