Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Genealogy Serendipity Moments- The Gates Family

Serendipity moments occur frequently when doing genealogical research. My goal is to share some of these moments with you on a weekly basis, hopefully on Wednesdays. I would love to hear about your genealogy serendipity moments.
About a month ago I went to Sweet Home, Oregon to present four lectures at the Sweet Home Genealogical Society. During the day one of the local researchers approached me to mention a computer research file of the Chapin Family Tree. It was created from information gathered by one of their members, and scanned by their society on 8 June 2010.
The Chapin family was briefly mentioned in one of my lectures, as the widow of my Revolutionary War ancestor married into that family. He tried to download the file to a CD for me, but was not successful. Then he said he would take it home and do it on his home computer. A few days after returning home I received an envelope in the mail containing the CD. I left it to linger on my desk as I worked on other projects, as my work on the Chapin family is of limited interest.
When I finally opened the CD and put it into my computer I was utterly amazed at what it contained. Through the combined efforts of Howard Roy Gates, his wife Veatrice Adeline Chapin, and his sister Blanche Gates Robinson Cox, I found a wonderful family history collection for their ancestors. Fortunately for us, my husband descends from this same Gates family and we now have a wealth of information to include in our family history.
The collection included: thirteen family group sheets and six pedigree charts; Red Butte Cemetery, Great Falls, Montana information; nine documents; a two page family history; eleven pages of pictures. These have all been beautifully preserved in a manner that is easily shared by future generations of researchers.
Due to this wonderful gift, from a generous fellow genealogist, we are now in possession of previously unknown pictures and documents for my husband’s ancestors. With this information we discovered that we had previously connected these ancestors to the wrong family line. After reviewing other documents it is apparent that this information is correct.
The wonderful discovery lead us to the indexed databases on and we found indexes of a Will and a War of 1812 Pension file for the connecting ancestor Adril Gates. Just this past week the Meeker County, Montana Deputy Court Administrator emailed a copy of the Will, in which Adril Gates notes that Albert J. Gates is his youngest son.   It provides the connection we needed for my husband’s second great grandfather to his third great grandfather.
Then we received the War of 1812 Pension file, three days after ordering it, from Jonathan Webb Deiss a private records accessor for files from the National Archives. The files he sends by email contain full color copies. It truly is exceptional service. His website is: This file contains sixty-three pages and will take some time to fully extract information from.
That is it for this serendipity moment for this week. I hope you enjoyed the story and will be encouraged to share such moments as well.

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