Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Coming Face to Face With My Ancestors

I was skipping around the Internet the other day, looking for things and trying to find inspiration for the program that I am writing about Hollywood Cemetery.  One thing led to another, as it always does, and I found myself on a blog that I had never visited before.  The writer mentioned something about Googling her ancestor's name and finding newspaper articles (or was it court records?).  I have a few ancestors with unusual enough names, so I thought I'd give it a try.

I typed a great-great grandmother's name into the search box, Tranquilla Ann Brady.  I was practically blown out of my chair when I clicked on one of the search results.  This is the page:

I clicked on a photo, one of Tranquilla and her son Arnold (my great-grandfather).


Each person in the photo is tagged, and the tags are on a menu on the right of the screen.  Clicking on Arnold's tag gave me a drop-down menu, and I selected 'Photos and Stories'.  This brought up a page with photos of him, like the one I found with Tranquilla's photos.

There was a photo of Arnold and his new wife, Augusta Martina Amundson,

and a photo of their house!

Back on Tranquilla's photo page, there was a photo of her house, too.

Here is a photo of Tranquilla and her first husband (my great-great grandfather) Ransom Abraham Stevens.

Following the link to photos of Ransom Stevens led to this gem:

I could have sifted through this stuff all day, but I had to force myself to stop and get back to the real work at hand. is from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It is free, though you have to register to use the site. has come a long way since I last visited there.  These must be user-supplied photos, but I couldn't find any indication as to who may have uploaded them.  (I didn't look too hard for this info right now, but you can be certain that I will later.)

I started researching and recording my family history when I was 16, and I have traced most of the lines of my family through the last two centuries.  Most of this was done before the convenience of the Internet, using old-fashioned resources like pencil and paper, telephone calls, snail mail, and countless hours looking at microfilm in dark library basements.  When it was launched, I subscribed to, but I let the subscription lapse when I had done all I needed to at that time. 

This new resource, with the potential for stories and photos, is going to be a great way to discover new info on ancestors ... and I can't wait to have time to waste to see what else there is out there for me to find.


  1. How fun is that! My grandma did a lot of work on our family history but I'm not sure where all the info ended up. Since she lost her entire house in a tornado, it was probably blown away. I haven't wanted to pay for Ancestry but I'll take a look at this new one. I have old family photos that should be documented somewhere so maybe that's a good place.

  2. Gotta love the Mormons for all their hard work ;>D
    What an AMAZING find!! And boy, don't you have some wonderful [unusual] names in your tree ... although yours is probably a *tree rose*

    Great post!

  3. That is SO cool! I started on a few years ago and quickly got back six generations to my sixth great grandfather. These were all names I had heard as a child but assumed they were people from Germany because my great grandmother had a strong German accent. It took me several more months on Ancestry to find one of my known ancestors in another members family tree that connected me back to the 1600s in Massachusetts. None of us had any idea.

    I never found anything like you're showing here. What a rare treat to be able to see photos of these people! Wow! I'm going to have to check it out.

  4. How wonderful, Connie!

    It's been a long time since I've done much searching. I'll have to check this out!

  5. That is so cool. My cousins did all the research in our family and gave it to all of us, but I can imagine the excitement doing it oneself.

  6. Wow~ That is amazing. My Aunt traced my family back to the 1400'a using pen/paper and the phone (sparingly) in the 1960s. Each family got a bound copy of the research. Amazing! xo Diana

  7. How blessed you are to find this info! I have two aunts who have traced alot of my mother's family history but there aren't alot of photos...that I know of. I will give this site a 'looky-see' and, hopefully, I will come up with some gems such as you have found. Thank you for sharing!

  8. I love this, Connie!!! We are genealogy buffs, too. I actually started when I was eight years old. And, my husband fell right into it, too.

  9. What a treasure! This is where modern technology really shines.

  10. Great find, Connie . . . hope you get time to back and meander through more records.

  11. Great find, Connie . . . hope you get time to back and meander through more records.

  12. How cool for you--my mom has been doing all this work for us (whew)!
    Your found pictures are an incredible treasure,and our family is lucky to have MANY passed to us--I guess we need to scan and upload them to share too, huh?

  13. Very cool...I have stored this information for when I have free time! Let's hope it's soon for both of us... :) donna

  14. Your post inspired me to take a Google look at my great-great grandfather, Mansfield (first name). I found information on Find-A-Grave. Quite a bit of info because family members had updated these little pages.

    I had heard that my GGG grandfather had been killed by the klan but it was listed that it was Quantrill's Raiders. Sad to hear. Interesting to know.

  15. This is my ancestor too! Please give me a phone call or email me as I'd love to connect with you. We are cousins! 571-308-3512 Adam

  16. Adam, email me ...


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