Monday, March 13, 2006

(19-1) Finding Living Persons ---- success!!! by Carmen Finley

On Monday evening I put out a call for help to find a person who had posted valuable Armstrong family information on GenForum. On Wednesday evening, I talked with her on the phone (unlisted) and made arrangements to swap data.

For those of you who are interested in the general approach, here is what happened.

A key document turned out to be a fairly recent obit for her mother found on Ancestry.com's obituary collection (several of the 16 persons who contacted me privately, found this item). The obit gave the name of her husband, siblings, and father and their whereabouts. It also included the name of the mortuary. One person suggested I contact the mortuary and actually that would probably have worked.

Yes, she was also on the Ancestry.com U.S. Public Records Index (as several persons suggested), and was the first one I tried to call. Number no longer in service.

It was Christina Humphreys who went on to "prove" the obituary correctly identified the right person and to locate her current whereabouts by accessing online property assessors databases and recorded documents which showed the move, and her current address (no phone number). In addition, the obituary gave California as the birthplace of the person I was trying to locate. The California birth index gave further confirmation we were on the right track.

How did I get her phone number? Not from any of the online phone information databases. However, her father was listed. I called him, explained my mission, and he gave me her number.

As Christina said to me in a private message, "the same research principles apply to finding living people as they do to our genealogical research: use original sources when possible, be alert to the fact that there may be multiple people with the same name living in the same area, and look for information that can be used to differentiate these people from one another, such as a birth date, middle name, or spouse's name."

So here is one happy camper-----and I certainly learned a lot.

Reprinted with the kind Permission of Carman Finley and Christina Humphries

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