Family history moments: 'Lost' branch

After moving to a new ward in Oak City, Utah, my husband was called to be an extraction worker for the stake. He began to have the distinct promptings that family research needed to be done for my father's biological father's family.

My (paternal grandfather) died 10 days before (my father's) birth, and (my father) was raised and adopted by his step-father. We only had a name to go on. I searched for many years gathering little, if any, information.

Finally, after meeting a cousin of my dad's who gave me a mysterious picture, I had a lead. The picture had one inscription on the back: "Emma Harkins aunt on father's side." The father's last name was Crowley.

So I headed to a genealogy site on the Internet and submitted a request for anyone that had "Crowley's with Harkins ties." There I met a wonderful woman named Nell. She had many of the names I did but not the right dates.

As we chatted back and forth one night, a man from the state of Washington popped into our conversation stating he didn't know how he happened upon the site we were on because he didn't do genealogy, but the lady we were talking about was his great-grandmother. This immediately connected Nell to him but I needed to have some more information to include me in this family tree.

I knew my great-grandparents had been married in Ogden, Utah. At one time I had a secretary in the vital statistics office there search for the marriage license. She found a receipt indicating one had been purchased, but she found no license.

I remembered hearing on one occasion that in researching family history information, one should always search 10 pages forward and 10 pages back in case anything was misfiled. I searched and did find the purchase receipt but no license with it. So then I searched 10 pages forward and there it was: my great-grandparents' marriage license. And guess who was the witness couple: the man from Washington's great-grandparents!

Nell was able to e-mail me over 150 names and dates. Since then, I have not had contact with this man but I have kept in touch with Nell, who honored me by telling me I was the "lost" branch of their family tree. Little did she know I had been searching for the whole tree! — Traci Stevens Callister, Oak City 1st Ward, Delta, Utah Stake

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