My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
and I live in Las Vegas.
It all started when I was about 16, and had some old photos which belonged to my mom. I wanted to find out about the people that were in them, and well the rest is history.
I began to dabble in the hobby, but due to a 16 year old's lack of funds, it was a long slow process and I really didn't get into it until I started working.
It wasn't a year after I started really digging, that my mother said some family that I'd never heard of from Nebraska, had contacted her and they were having a Woodhouse/Walker family reunion, and wondered if I wanted to go. So off we went, with dad in tow.
A great time was had by all, but we had some spare time on our hands after the reunion was over. We knew that her dad Elmer Lawrence was born in Wray, Colorado in 1893, and she wanted to drive up there and see where he was born. Not much was known on her dad's family, just that Elmer, his father and siblings had ended up in British Columbia around 1900.
They were a transient bunch and I had no success tracking them before Elmer Lawrence was born in Wray. After absorbing the areas natural beauty in Wray for a while, I asked dad to drive to the library, if they had one. It took us a while to find it, but we managed to get there. I wasn't sure what I was looking for, I just knew I had to look though.
After about 10 minutes of looking for not sure what, I pulled a book off the shelf, a biography sort of accounting of Wray families. I looked in the index for Grandpa Elmer's daddy Charles Lawrence, but no surprise here, I found nothing. Dad was getting anxious to get going, so I was in the process of closing the book to return it to the shelf.
Before I could close it, the book opened to a page showing an Andrew Woodson Lawrence and his story. I looked at the picture of Andrew and his sons, and called mom. I pointed and said "Mom? Doesn't this Andrew look like Grandpa Charlie (I had an old picture of him) and doesn't this boy look like your brother?" She said "nah, come on, your dad is getting antsy."
I grabbed a quick photocopy of the story and put it in my piles of notes I had gathered on this worthwhile trip. It was about 5 years after that, I had finally located Charlie as a young boy on the 1870 census in Kansas. And listed with Charlie was his brother Andrew Woodson Lawrence.
The name had rung a bell, I ran to my carefully sorted notes (NOT) and found the photocopy of the biography. Needless to say I was elated. It listed Andrew's descendant's, and although the book was published in the early 50s, through trial and error and lots of phonecalls, postage and returned mail marked "deceased", I did find my mom's 2nd cousin living up in Grand Junction, Colorado who was in his late 70s at the time.
Although Cousin Bill couldn't help me for love nor money on the Lawrence ancestors past Andrew, he did fill me in on all those new cousins I had just found.
I subsequently had moved to Arizona and as it turned out, Cousin Bill and his wife went to Arizona every winter, so mom and dad had planned a visit to Arizona from Canada one winter, and we all met up. A wonderful man indeed.
On our way back from Wray, CO to Nebraska on that fateful trip, we drove by a little town in Kansas called Wheeler, which I had not even heard mentioned ever before. We stopped to stretch our legs, and I'm sure it was no accident we did that right by a tiny little cemetery which couldn't have had more than half a dozen stones in it, and there as plain as day, was Alonzo Oscar Walker my gr-gr-grandfather, buried in the middle of nowhere, yet right in front of us.
Quite an amazing trip indeed.
Submitted: Sat Apr 17 10:47:10 1999