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February 8, 2008

Serendipity in Genealogy

Last week I decided to play around with FamilySearch and their new Labs, in particular Record Search.

It's easy and free to register, so after filling out the form, I logged in and began my search. I was not looking for anything or anyone specifically, I simply wanted to try it out.

Imagine my surprise when typing in my family surname (McGINNIS) from Ontario, up popped a 1920s death record in Ohio.

A closer look revealed it was my great-grandfather's brother, an individual in my McGinnis Family Tree I'd lost after the 1881 census, and a man I'd almost given up hope of ever finding! I had no idea he'd gone to Ohio, in fact family lore swore he had left Guelph Ontario for Hamilton Ontario. I'd searched Ontario for him without success.

And now, here he was dying in Ohio. His wife's name and her residence were given on the dath record. A note stated the body was being sent to Ontario for burial. With those clues I was able to find his wife and their children and a whole new branch of research has opened for me.

Serendipity at its best. So don't overlook taking the time to play with new genealogy records you find online. It can pay off!

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