On Saturday, I e-mailed the VALK and LEWIS cousins that had left comments in my website's guestbook a couple of weeks ago. I also went through my Juno email inbox (nearly 900 messages), deleted all the junk and forwarded the good e-mails to my Gmail inbox. I used to use Juno for many years, and keep this freebie account open for those times when a distant relative or other researcher comes across a query I left on a message board with the old address. One of the messages was the following:
I have been searching for over 5 yrs. for a missing link, my Gr. Grandfather Lewis Harding. I knew his name, his wife’s name, when he was born, where he is buried and I knew that he came to Michigan when he was 2 yrs. old. I spent some time on looking at the Atlas Project, did a search and found him in the biography of George M. Campbell. Thank you so much for your Atlas Project. I not only found Lewis Harding’s parents, but also his sisters and brother. I have an old album that belonged to my grandparents, M.C. and Matilda Harding that has pictures of several of the people named in the Atlas Project. I knew they were relatives, but I didn’t know their connection and thanks to you now I do. I am thrilled to get this information that I have been seeking for so long.
Thank you again.
As you can imagine, this made my day! I haven't worked on the Atlas Project in a couple of years so it's nice to know that the information I put on it has helped someone. Here's another person I need to contact to see if she would be willing to add her photographs to the website for the benefit of others.
I heard back from my LEWIS cousin we are collaborating. I have the information she needs on the earlier, older generations and she has information I've been wanting on the more recent ones--info I couldn't access because of restrictions to current vital records. I also sent her quite a few ancestral and gravestone photos. I'm very excited to find how easy it is to find things and send them to others using my new filing system for documents, photos, and research notes.
Speaking of which, I spent a lot of time this week organizing digital files, answering a backlog of emails, and even got some scanning done. My dad loaned me the funeral book of my paternal grandmother's adoptive father, Alfred Henry HOLST. There are lots of gems inside: obituaries, signatures of nearly everyone in town (including other relatives), and pages where relatives are specifically listed. One of the list of relatives had some unfamiliar names on it. I remembered that I had discovered that Alfred's father, John, had a sister that had also immigrated from Germany; this was from John's FBI Case File, which I found at Footnote. His sister was listed as Mrs. Anna M. BORCHERS, so using Ancestry and FamilySearch Record Search, I was able to piece together her family and identify the individuals by the same surname listed in the funeral book: Anna's sons and Alfred's cousins. Doing research on this family uncovered that Anna and her husband Claus immigrated from Germany in 1874, so when John and his wife and infant son Alfred immigrated in 1882, it was obvious that they were joining his sister and brother-in-law. I love how putting pieces of the puzzle (facts) together gives a larger, deeper look into the family history!
Lastly, I happened to go to the Zeeland (Netherlands) Provincial Archives website and saw that they had added birth records, which they were lacking before. I've been able to add quite a few details and family members to my TON and VanKLINKEN lines.