29 November 2011

Simple Kindness Grants Small Miracle

Have I ever told you how much I love old newspapers? Well, they put life to a name and a date. Newspapers often make the person come to life! And I love having my ancestors "come to life".

I've been researching my great-uncle Frank's life and struggled with the fact that he committed suicide at the tender age of 21 in 1897. Distraught over the loss of the love of his life, Lena, three months earlier, he said his goodbye's to family and friends and shot himself to death. A distraught mother lost her first-born child, having already lost three more babies shortly after birth. Frank never had the opportunity to marry Lena, nor raise a family of his own with her. My heart has ached for them both.

I had been able to piece together much of Lena's family but found it difficult to prove relationships. Different sources listed different parents names. I had two potential sets of parents for her. And her name had two middle initials or names. I discovered that Lena's mother died when she was only a little over a year old, so I figured that someone else must have helped to raise her.

I had searched all the available issues of newspapers online that I could find but none told me about Lena's father nor could I find anything explaining the multiple names for both Lena and her father. Then, just a few days ago I received an email from an angel, Laura. She had sent me a newspaper page from 1892 with a small article explaining how Lena's father had legally changed his name because he was not raised by his parents, but rather an aunt and uncle. He was always being asked why his name was different from his "parents", was embarrassed, and wanted his name changed to match theirs. I had missed this article!

After a few exchanges of emails, I found that my angel, Laura, was not even related to this family. She apparently was researching someone else and just happened to run across the article. She went online to FamilySearch, found that I had entered information about the family and sent the article to me! How special is that! Laura had taken that extra step, a few extra minutes, and found me! She could have just as easily skipped it and moved on -- but she didn't! She touched my heart!

So to you, Laura, may all your research prove fruitful! And, may all your miracles come to pass!

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