Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I don't respond much to advertising. At least I don't think I do....for the obvious reason that I'm not much of a shopper either. I'll look at ads if I intend to purchase something, but I don't feel that they lure me into being a customer.
But after last evening's "Gotcha'" moment while doing some genealogical research, I just may have to change my whole attitude.

This is about little Frank Whitters, whom I lost after age 14 on the 1900 Census. I admit that he is such a peripheral relative that I didn't really try all that hard, but from time to time I'd think about him again and make a cursory survey of what new had come online. This is NOT the way to do genealogy and I know it, but I'm getting old and tired and I admit, obviously somewhat sloppy in the way I handle things.

Frank's dad, Edward, was the first son of my great-great grandmother Ellen Madden (widow Whitters) Stevens. Ellen was from an Irish family who emigrated to the US in 1832 and settled in Taunton, Mass. just before Ellen was born. Ellen married Robert Whitters when she was of marriageable age and within a year after Edward was born she was widowed. Her folks and siblings had resettled to Mendota, Illinois, so Ellen took the baby and went there to be with them. It was there she met Chester Stevens, who would become her second husband. Because my own line came from a daughter of Chester and Ellen, I had not given much research time to Edward himself. I had learned that he had married and had two children, Jennie and Frank. I'd managed to track Jennie but Frank had remained an enigma.

Last night I was diddling around on the computer, more or less killing time until bedtime, and it occurred to me to do a general 'Find-a-Grave" search to see if someone had located a grave for "little" Frank Whitters, still figuring he must have died young.

I entered his name, pushed the magic button and got an immediate notification that there was no Frank Whitters in the Find-a-Grave database. What I saw directly under that, and what I've seen every single time I use Find-a-Grave,
To make a long story short, that one click made a believer of me. I found a WWI Draft Registration for Frank, as well as a passport application dated 1919 and a renewal application dated 1924. He was working for Empire Refining Company out of Ponca City, Oklahoma and was applying for a passport to enable him to represent the company at oil explorations in Tampico, Mexico. Along with the passports are all manners of descriptions of him, ranging from the photograph to a written description of his physical being, including distinguishing marks (he had none.)

It was hard for me to head off to the bedroom last night after such an exhilarating find. One should pick a much earlier hour to do such things! While flat on my back waiting for the sandman I mentally laid out the strategy for my pursuit of the now very-much-alive Frank, a cousin of my Grandma Jessie.

But overriding all those thoughts was the one that stood out in my mind about ignoring ads. Just as in department stores, ads feature new and exciting information. Ancestry, as well as the other major genealogy websites, add new material daily, and they advertise to get us to take a peek. I have to admit that although I'm still not much of a shopper, I'm sold on reading the adverts now.

But I think "Paying attention" is probably what it is all about!

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