Last week I was contacted by someone who's father is a DNA match with my great uncle. Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) predicted the match at 2nd-4th cousin. She is also from Canada. My mind immediately goes to my most annoying brick wall - John McGovern who supposedly came from Canada.
That doesn't seem to be it - no McGoverns in her family. We do share a potential common ancestor Nicholas Olmstead. Problem is - he is my 9th great grandfather, which would be my grand - uncle's 7th great grandfather. This seems like a stretch for a predicted relationship of 2nd to 4th cousin....... But - it's the only lead we see - so I start working on it. The theory is that my ancestors come through Nicholas' daughter Elizabeth, and her family comes by way of Nicholas' daughter Sarah.
I started looking - and a few generations down - run into a problem. Turns out she's run into this problem too - one of her brick walls!
This problem's name is James Gates. He may have been born in 1775, 1777, or 1781. He may have lived in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Canada or all of the above. He may have been married to Mary Willard or Lucina Gaston, and may have had a marriage before Mary or Lucina - to Polly Clarke, who's name may have been Mary Clarke and she went by Polly........
That is a LOT of maybe's.........
By this time a few days had passed, and I had been introduced to another person in this same family line - and now the 3 of us are comparing notes and seeing what, if anything we can piece together......
I found a record that was had indexed information only - but the record is held at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Just so happens that I live near Salt Lake City and I work about 3 blocks away, yet............ I have never been there!
I just happened to have already taken Thursday and Friday off work. On Friday - I am headed to the Family History Library for the first time ever :)
So - this is NOT a story about John Gates - because I still don't know who the John Gates in my family is....... but it IS a story about how John Gates allowed me to meet new friends, improve my research skills, and got myself into the Family History Library for the first time ever. I may learn more about John Gates at the library - but I will learn more about this resource that can be used to find out more about the people in my family.
So - thank you John Gates, whoever you are......... hopefully soon I will know more about YOUR story!