Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Where Are You Great Great Grandpa?

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


  1. Karen, this is fascinating to read. I can only imagine the hours of searching, reading, and compiling of information. You must be ever so excited with each tidbit of information you find on your ancestral search. I'm curious -- are you finding photos along the way also?

  2. Sometimes I find photos along the way and sometimes no. Depends on how well other researchers are putting their information online. I found a photo the other day of my great great grandfather on my mother's grandmother's side. I was so thrilled. I sat here at the computer saying, "Oh, my! Oh, my! Look what I found." And, cried.

  3. Oh, that is wonderful! So that means a writing with a photo is next! :-)

  4. Karen, I think you've done a wonderful job of tracing your history back so far. Mine has been difficult to say the least. A lot of my mother's side of the family never kept any recorded information except in family Bibles and no one has bothered to put that online. Oh, how I would love to have those!!

  5. Yes, Ruthi! I will write something with a photo. :)

  6. Dianna, it's taken years of research to get where I am with my family history. It has been a challenge to say the least. I still have lines in my family that I can't trace back at all. They just stop. Especially the ones from Ireland and Germany.