By in Relationships

An Unusual Source Solves a Genealogy Problem

I've learned to turn over every conceivable sort of stone in searching out family trees. I'd like to tell you about one "stone" you, in your endeavors, may never have thought of. And I'll spell it out in detail. It won't take much of your time...

I was trying to find a Birdie E. Fink. She was in a family census and she was listed as a sister-in-law. Which meant her maiden name was Howe.

The well-known site for free genealogy information is I got almost nowhere. I tried Find-a-Grave, another fantastic resource. Absolutely no success. Rootsweb has shut down. There are other sites as well, but none of them were of much help.

So I thought I'd try a general web search. That sometimes helps. It didn't look like that was going to help either. Then I saw the description of a patent, with the letters US and a long string of numbers. So I clicked it. It halfway seemed like a flop, since the patent was actually granted to a Gilmore C. Fink. Still... I saw the two witnesses to the application included a Birdie E. Fink!

So I looked for the introduction to Gilmore. Hm. He lived in St.Petersburg, Pennsylvania. Then I learned this was in Clarion County, Pennsylvania! That was a ringer.

So back I go to Find-a-Grave, find Gilmore C. Fink, and there it is, complete with a biography of the man. It said in 1881, he married Birdie Estella Howe! Wow. A US patent solved my genealogy problem. Don't immediately toss any possible database if you are looking for a family member.

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MegL wrote on April 25, 2020, 4:22 PM

What a lucky find. That's not a site one would normally think of checking for family members.