I had been doing research for many years. Genealogy books, pedigree charts and family group sheets began to take over my life. I enjoy doing research and finding that elusive ancestor. I almost felt like a detective.
There were many times, I just wanted to throw my hands up and say, "That's it." I would put all the papers in a drawer and wouldn't look at them for weeks or even months. Eventually, I would start working on my family tree once again.
I had information on my parents, their parents and even great grandparents. However, there was one person I just couldn't seem to find anywhere. I figured he must have crawled out from under a rock, married, had children and went right back. He was nowhere to be found. This stopped the progression of that particular branch of the family.
Talking to family members gave me some insight into this gentleman, however, not too much was known about him. Family tradition said he fought in the Civil War and received a pension. No record was found on him.
Spending hour upon hour going through census for this county and that county in the state that he was to have lived in and not knowing his name other than his last name, I searched. A week, a month and then years passed and still I didn't find him.
Just as I was about to give up again, I decided to go through the entire county census where my great great grandpa was born. I read every name. All I could find was his last name but it had one letter missing. Since I knew the names of his four children, I reread this particular part of the census again. There were the four children with the same ages. But, that missing letter was bothering me.
After reading that names aren't always spelled the correct way by the enumerator of the census, I decided that this must be him. I placed him on my pedigree chart, but with a question mark.
Searching for his will and Civil War pension papers led me to the information I needed. There in his will and pension papers was my surname with the missing letter. There was my proof that I had found great great grandpa at last.
©Karen A J Rinehart
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