Saturday, April 6, 2024

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: When Has Someone Helped You Find a Record or Solve a Mystery?

How could we get by in genealogy without people who help us find things?  That's the focus for tonight's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge from Randy Seaver.

Come on, everybody, join in and accept the mission and execute it with precision.

1.  We all need, and usually enjoy, a little help from our genealogy friends.  This week's challenge is to share a time when a genea-friend helped you find a record, or even solve a mystery.  It could be a recent help, or something from long ago.

2.  Tell us about them in a comment on this post or in a Facebook post.  Please leave a link on this post if you write your own post.

For one of the most important records that someone helped me find, it wasn't a genea-friend who stepped up, it was my sister.

I had requested a search for my paternal grandfather's birth record from the state of New Jersey a few times, and I had failed every time.  I tried with his name as I knew it, with no given name, and under his mother's maiden name.  Fail, fail, fail.

But my sister had offered to help with the family research, and I took her up on the offer.  I did the previsit legwork:  checked with the archives on their procedures, verified their hours, etc., etc., etc.

So when my sister went in to search manually, she was successful!  And the lovely archivists even had found when my great-grandmother had amended the birth certificate 37 years after my grandfather was born.

The original birth certificate of my grandfather, whom I knew as Bertram Lynn Sellers, was made out in the name of Gertrude L. Armstrong, female, born April 6, 1903.

We're never going to be able to explain the mystery of how a mistake was made on the sex and name of the child, but 37 years later, his mother had it corrected.

And with the help of my sister (who I guess is also my genea-friend!), we now have the documentation to show it happened.

Coincidentally, today is April 6, my grandfather's birthday.


  1. That is one of the strangest mistakes I have ever heard. Someone certainly wasn't paying attention when that certificate was filled out! It's also quite ironic that April 6 is Bernard's birthday.

    1. My sister has a very complicated conspiracy theory that my great-grandmother deliberately had the child recorded as female to hide the birth from her lover. It's a wonderful tale with absolutely no substance to it, but very entertaining. And I loved the coincidence of Randy posting this on Grampa's birthday!

  2. It's great when we can get our family involved!

    1. Especially since it happens so rarely for most of us!


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