Question of the Week: What's a favorite discovery you've made in your research?

+23 votes
1.2k views

What is one of your favorite genealogical research discoveries? Please tell us about it with an answer below or on Facebook. You could also reshare the question image on social media so your friends and family will see your answer.

in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.6m points)
My Grandmothers side of the family the brenners keep goin and are related somehow to everyone lol
I found my maternal great grandmother's parents that I had been looking for, for years with the help of Wonderful Wikitreer Frank Santoro, plus several other familiy members and sources that I didn't previously have. Many thanks, Frank for all your discoveries and moving me along in the right direction. Now, I too, am trying to help others along their family history journey.
It would be great it’s hard in Ireland I can tell you that much

45 Answers

+17 votes
 
Best answer

Lots of interesting things have been discovered, but the best of all is discovering my 4th cousin Lynn Bensy. She and I have so much in common; it is amazing. We met on WikITree, and we are great friends even though we live 1,000 miles apart. This is us looking at her original photos of shared ancestors. 

by Alexis Nelson G2G6 Pilot (261k points)
selected by Susan Laursen
I Ad this photo thank you for sharing
Thank you sweet Susan. Lynn and I have become such good friends, and all because she saw a profile I did on her second great grandfather.
Alexia I am so happy for you, it is a small world sometimes is it not.
+16 votes
The most recent one is that my maternal great-grandmother's brother went to the same high school as my paternal great-grandfather. It would never in a million years have occurred to me to look for my maternal relatives in that town: it's modernly a two-hour drive from where they lived, and this was 1893-97. It's definitely him, though -- the yearbook gives the right birthplace and birthdate and religion.
by J Palotay G2G6 Mach 5 (54.8k points)
+15 votes
My 2x paternal great grandfather came to Louisiana from England in the 1840's. The court house there burned in 1864 along with his naturalization papers. Another fire took some of his personal papers long after he died. After many years, I tracked down the naturalization papers of his brother who went to Sackett's Harbor, New York. He listed exactly where he was born in England and I found his baptismal record. Then, I found his census records in New York with all of his children's names; many of the names were the exact same as his brother's children in Louisiana. I am still searching for a living descendant for a DNA test but this was an exciting find after decades of a huge brick wall.
by Virginia Fields G2G6 Pilot (433k points)
Very cool! Good luck!
Did his brother also come to Saketts?  When the covid shut
down is lifted I can go to the local genealogy room and see if I can find anything on him.  Answer on my profile if you wish to keep things private.  I will forget about this if I don't make notes now.  I'm not sure the library is truly open yet.  I am usually only in town for groceries and small purchases at the quick stop store.
Thank you, Beulah!! I have replied in a PM to you - not for privacy but just easier to explain in email.
+12 votes
My dad aas my mom's high school science teacher.
by David Hughey G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
+17 votes
Finding Wikitree
by Will Palmer G2G6 Mach 2 (23k points)
+14 votes
My overall favorite discovery is finding out how much I love history. I had no idea. I have had lots of serious pastimes in my long life but this experience has been particularly rewarding.  :-)  Perhaps because it's about people, lots and lots of people in all sorts of situations from the enviable to the downright Greek tragedy. Thank you WikiTree for allowing me to find their stories which has enabled me to grow as a human being.
by Leigh Anne Dear G2G6 Mach 5 (50.7k points)
+13 votes

I've learned a lot of fascinating (to me) tidbits about various ancestors: umpty G Grandfather James Truslow was the first tailor in Charleston, WV.  His son John was a silversmith and some of his pieces are in museum collections.

The (current) favorite discovery was the wedding announcement of my G Grandmother Alice (Ryan) Hogan which revealed the existence of her sister Gertrude which led to her brother Martin and then to her maternal aunt Catherine (Walsh) Jacot.  None of Nana Hogan's family were ever mentioned during my childhood other than her beloved husband John Hogan.

by Dorothy O'Hare G2G6 Mach 3 (34.8k points)
+12 votes
Absolutely, it would have to be Find a Grave. Taking the dates from the headstones on Find a Grave and plugging them into Ancestry.com makes the hints come alive.
by Tommy Buch G2G6 Mach 6 (62.9k points)
+13 votes

A French Canadian ancestor born in Spain.

Andre Robidou dit l'Espagnol. His name was a giveaway: Andre Robidou, "known as the Spaniard."

by Joyce Vander Bogart G2G6 Mach 2 (20.3k points)
This is pretty cool, Joyce!
+18 votes
The favorite discovery was that my wife and I are related.

My wifes family (Petersen) came frome Kappeln, Schleswig, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, my family (Lewerenz) from Schwaan, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany.

My wifes mother maternal grandfather was Friedrich Hans Carl Kruse in Oering, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany; his mother Catharina Margaretha Dorothea Path.

My fathers maternal grandmother was Maria Sophia Emma Finnern, her paternal grandmother was Catharina Margaretha Path in Oering, Schleswig-Holstein, Deutschland.

Both Path's father was Johann Peter Martin Path in Neustadt in Holstein, Schleswig-Holstein, Deutschland.

I proofed that relationship at least 5 times, but it is correct.

Ergo my wife and I are related!!
by Dieter Lewerenz G2G6 Mach 5 (59.3k points)
+14 votes
I have so many!  One of my favorites was finding the burial location for my great-grandmother.  She died when my grandfather was young, and very little was known about her, so I had to hunt to even find her name.  Her burial location does not have a tombstone, but cemetery records show exactly where she is.  Part of the reason this was one of my favorite discoveries is that I made a connection with someone who is familiar with the cemetery who went out and took a picture of the exact spot and gave me a beautiful description of the surrounding area.  I love it when total strangers can come together to share information and fill in trees.  This is a hobby for the living, those who continue the story.
by Sandra DeTora G2G5 (5.7k points)
+13 votes
I have just recently followed a connection to at least 1730 in a small town of Westrup, Wehdem, Stemwede, Westfalia, Germany, and was amazed to also discover that there is a relative bearing my surname still living on the farm that my ancestors lived in since 1730 and possibly earlier! Amazing!
by Lance Holt G2G Crew (590 points)
That really IS amazing, Lance!
I am trying to formulate a letter that I can try and translate into German as well as English, but I’m not sure where to start? The gentleman who lives there now is 83 years old, and I have no idea if he has an Internet connection so I will certainly be asking if he has that available to him. I don’t want to scare him away with too many questions on the first communication! LOL! Any ideas? All thoughts gratefully accepted.
+14 votes

A fun one for me...Found three articles from a newspaper in Torrington, Wyoming, each about a week apart, dated 1921. My Granddad, WWI veteran, living in Scottsbluff, Nebraska at the time, was pulled over and arrested for running moonshine. I remember, as a child, hearing my Grandmother, laughingly telling the story how she had to bail my Granddad out of jail for their wedding. Us kids always thought she was just kidding around. But, sure enough, there was the evidence in the old newspaper articles. So Grandpa was a "rum runner" ,but evidently, not a very good onesurpriselaugh

by Jon Shannon G2G Crew (620 points)
+12 votes

My favorite discovery is that I have 6 ancestors that came on the Mayflower:  Stephen and Giles Hopkins; John Howland; and John, Joan and Elizabeth Tilley.

Pam Wallace

by Pam Wallace G2G Crew (560 points)
+14 votes

By far my favorite discovery was in finding my half brother whom I never knew I had.  I was adopted as an infant and have been on this discovery journey for over 30 years.  His tree exploded my paternal side and gave me a blood-related sibling with whom I've forged a relationship.

by Beverly Peckham G2G3 (3.3k points)
That is totally brilliant! Congratulations.
+13 votes

One hundred and fifty-seven years ago, Bill Thompson was toiling away on a 36-mile march in the high heat and humidity of a Maryland July day in 1863.  Bill was stepping into his destiny.

He had sailed from England to America to fight for the Union Army and joined the Third New York Independent Battery in 1861.  They reached the outskirts of the little farming town of Gettysburg,  Pennsylvania amidst a horrific fight around four o'clock on the afternoon of July 2, 1863.

The following morning, July 3,  Bill's battery was moved up to the front line and soon found themselves in the midst of a fierce cannonade with the Confederates almost a mile away.  Over 200 cannons sent shells tearing  through the air.  It was so loud that it could be heard 27 miles away in Carlisle.  Two hours later, there was a pause.  It was a very brief respite for out of the woods on Seminary Ridge, stepped 15,000 rebel soldiers and they were marching straight for Bill's position.

Pickett's/Pettigrew's Charge had begun.  The Pennsylvanians at the Bloody Angle fought hard as the rebels came on and pierced their line.  The attack was repulsed, but Bill suffered a  wound to his upper leg.

The town was overwhelmed with wounded after the three-days of battle.  The citizens were mustered into nursing service as most of the churches and houses in town became makeshift hospitals..  One of those citizens was Margaret Slonaker, who was living in the Adams County Almshouse, along with her seven-year-old son, Forrest.  The first day's battle had seen the armies surging back and forth almost on their doorstep.

While nursing Bill back to health, Margaret found herself attracted to the Englishman from Northampshire.  Little did Bill know that his heart would be stolen away after the carnage of the bloodiest battle of the American Civil War.

After his recovery, Bill joined the 17th Pennsylvania Calvary and road away to fight on.  The 17th battled  on all the way to Appomattox Court House in April of 1865.  

Afterwards, Bill found his way back to Gettysburg and proposed to the light of his life, Margaret.  They married in September, 1866 and had four children.  Bill informally adopted Margaret's son, Forrest.

Margaret passed away in 1897, but Bill lived to be 98 years old and took part in the 50th anniversary of the famous battle.  He passed away in 1927.

by Susan Alexander G2G Crew (750 points)
What a romantic story! Thanks for sharing.
I love this story! BTW: it was two of my gg-uncles who were firing those cannonballs form the Confederate side on that day.

Now I know who to blame.  blush

Susan, the fella I buy kilts from also had an ancestor at Gettysburg, Union side. It's a standing joke between us, that if my ancestors had been better shots, I would be paying a lot more for my kilts somewhere else. laugh

Hahahahaha!!!!!!
+12 votes
I have two favorite discoveries...finding out that my great-great grandmother's uncle was the Dr. J. C. Fuhlrott who discovered Neanderthal Man, and that my 4x great-grandmother was the older sister of Samuel Hahnemann who founded homeopathy, and that I am one of the very few documented relations of his.
by Gilbert von Studnitz G2G Crew (990 points)
+13 votes
I have three. Last year I found out my Great Great Grandmothers brother married into the maternal side of Catherine Middleton Duchess of Cambridge .

I have a tin of original photos. Two in particular from Scotland .

I thought two of the people looked like each other . One had John MacLennan on the back. I worked out the two people were siblings. I then found out my Great Grandmothers sister Wynie married a MacLennan . She was the Great Great Grandmother of the currrent MacLennan clan chief.

Third. We found out after 40 years of research we found my husbands Great Grandfather was Johannes Fohr. The Fohr family is connected.to the Fohr brewery  going back to the 1600s and the Fohr German ceramic pottery going back to 1850s
by K Jones G2G2 (2.4k points)
I am just a teensy bit envious! LOL! Congratulations, that’s awesome!
+12 votes
My Great Great Grandmothers brother married into Catherine Middleton Duchess of Cambridge's maternal family
by K Jones G2G2 (2.4k points)
+12 votes
My Great Grandmothers sister Wynie Bain married Roderick MacLennan. They are the Great Great Grandparents of the current clan chief
by K Jones G2G2 (2.4k points)

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