Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wisdom Wednesday - A distant relative with a cool story

While going over some of the videos FamilySearch has posted about the recent RootsTech convention, I saw one that mentioned a new website, Puzilla has been certified by FamilySearch to work with Family Tree, and offers a new spin on your fan chart - it has the power to show you not only your ancestors going back, but also to let you pick an ancestor and see their descendants going forward. That way, you can see how many of their children's lines extend to the modern day, and which are incomplete. It's a great way to find your cousins, as Elder Neil L. Anderson said at RootsTech. So I gave it a shot.

I pulled up my great-great-grandfather, Samuel Joseph. You can see his tree below (ignore the birth place info; that came from his death certificate, and I've since corrected it to say Zhitomir, Volhynia, Russia).
The line going up and left is my line of descent, with the three nodes on the end being me and my siblings. The upper right line is Lydia Joseph, Samuel's middle child. I know she had two kids, Latha and Ilene, but I don't have any children identified for them yet. The bottom right line is Olga Joseph, who had five kids (three of whom I've entered into Family Tree). The bottom left is Elmer Joseph, Samuel's only son, who had four children. The little stub above Elmer's line is his sister Helena Patricia, or Pat. She had a daughter that was adopted, who I haven't entered into Family Tree yet, as I still need more info on her. So you can see right away, this is a great tool for checking the completeness of your family info in Family Tree.

I decided to look for more info on one of Elmer's kids, his second daughter Frances. I knew from prior research that she married Clifford Wensley in 1941, but I didn't know much more about her than that. I did some quick searching on FamilySearch and Google to see what I could find. My search didn't turn up much, but what I did find was interesting. It seems Clifford's family moved around a bit - his dad was from Ontario, his mom from Wisconsin, his brother was born in Montana, while Clifford was born in New York. He was about 20 years old when he and Frances were married, while Frances was 22. World War II was well underway by that time, and in June 1944, just shy of their third anniversary, Clifford enlisted in the Army. I couldn't find what unit he joined, but the thought of joining the army during wartime, leaving a young wife and possibly children behind just really struck me. I couldn't imagine leaving my wife and two kids behind to go fight in a war that I might never come back from.

Fortunately for Frances, Clifford did return and lived to the age of 70, passing away in 1991. Frances survived him and lived another 16 years, and was buried next to him. I haven't found any obituaries for either of them yet, so I don't know if they ever had children. But it was neat learning a little about a hitherto unexplored branch of my family tree. I think Puzilla will come in very handy for planning future research.


Gibson Family said...

So, who are you cheering for in the Olympics? Russia or USA???

ironhide781 said...

USA all the way. My people left Russia for a reason.