Saturday, January 15, 2011

Lightning strikes again!

Last Christmas, I gave my Gibson grandparents each a photo family tree, with pictures and names of their direct ancestors, as far back as I had them. The gifts went over pretty well, and I was happy they were appreciated. While looking at his tree, my grandpa Fred said he knew of a picture of his grandfather, John Gibson, that he'd seen in Helena once. John Gibson was at one point a policeman in Helena, and a photo had been taken of the Helena policemen and put on display at the state archives. That got me interested, so I wrote to the Montana Historical Society and asked if they knew of any archives in their possession or in local libraries that might have a copy of that photograph. They got back to me a few days later, saying they'd forward my request to their Photo Archives department. That was back on the 7th, and I got busy with other things and forgot about it.
Then yesterday, I got an email from Becca Kohl, a Photograph Archivist at the Society, saying she'd located the photograph of Helena's policemen from 1892, with John Gibson listed as one of them! She said she'd also checked the Helena city directories from 1892 through 1899, and 1902. In them, John was listed as a teamster in 1892, a policeman in 1893-1894, a clerk in 1895-1899, and a boilermaker in 1902. This was welcome news as well. I'd found John as a teamster in Ancestry's database of Helena city directories, but only in 1891. I'd also found him in a later directory working as a clerk, but forgot to note the year the directory was published (this was back in the early days of my genealogical research - I know better now!). Ms. Kohl's information now tells me that directory was from 1895-1899. The other entries I'd never heard of, but am now very interested in getting copies of them.
But the best part of all - Ms. Kohl is sending me a copy of the photograph! I can't wait to get it and share it here, and with my family. Once again, my grandpa is dead-on about information regarding his family. What would I do without him?

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