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On Ancestry.com, they make it easy to connect with others that are researching similar interests.  There are forums available to ask questions about family members you are trying to investigate.  When a hint appears for a family member that links to another person’s family tree, you can choose to contact that person directly.  At times, this person can become an ally in your journey, offering guidance, and in my case, a few new stories to add to your tree. One such ally I found in my early journey has the screen name Kaderquin.  Kaderquin’s tree came up as a hint for me because of a possible tie-in with my great-grandfather, William H. Taylor. My first note to Kaderquin:

Hi! I’m pretty new to all this, but a leaf attracted me here because my great-grandfather (William H Taylor) appears to be connected to it. I guess I would like to know how I can confirm it’s the same person, and where do I go from here?

Thanks for any help you can give in advance! 🙂

The advice I received was simple, but very helpful:

Good question! You have to compare what you know about your great-grandfather with the information on the “leaf” record. There are probably dozens of William H. Taylors. When was your great-grandfather born? Where did he live? Names of wife/wives, parents, children?

It’s always best to work from the known back…..list all you know, and find out all you can, about your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins….and expand from there.

Good luck on your research. I can’t help you…the William H. Taylor on my Daniel line is there because his son Roy married a third cousin of my grandmother…..or so I think based on current research.

So, I found out quickly that Kaderquin and I had no real family ties, although our lines may have crossed briefly because one of my grand-uncles possibly married her grandmother’s distant cousin.  When I was able to share information about my great-grandfather’s family after some additional research, Kaderquin helped me in locating death certificates for both of my paternal great grandparents. In looking at Kaderquin’s tree, I also discovered she was working on a type of tree I had never seen before:  a descendant tree.  With a descendant tree, instead of starting with yourself and working back, you start with a particular relative and work forward.  I haven’t tried this with my side of the family tree yet since I’m not that far back, but with my husband’s side of the tree, we have started working forward from one of his distant great grandfather’s on his mother’s side, the first known person with the last name of Schreckengast.

About the same time that I had found Kaderquin to be a helpful ally in my journey, I  also located Mary, who turned out to be not only an asset and an ally, but also a somewhat distant relation!  I also discovered Mary through Ancestry.com.  She happened to be researching two names that I knew from my family history:  McCombs (my paternal grandmother’s family name), and Elder (a family name that I knew was somehow related, but I had never understood the connection).  Mary helped me join up the two names with the following facts:

  • Mary Emma Brazal (Mary’s grandmother), and Georgia Almeda Brazal (my great-grandmother) were sisters.
  • Georgia Almeda (Meda for short) married Joseph McCombs, my great-grandfather (who was always called “Poppa” by the family).  They had four daughters, one of which was my grandmother.  Meda died in 1911.
  • Mary Emma married Michael Elder.  They had two sons.  Michael died in 1914.
  • Some time after this, Joseph McCombs married Mary Emma Brazal Elder.  This meant that the children from their previous marriages were not only cousins, but also step brothers and sisters!

I had always heard my Aunt Jeanette refer to Poppa’s second wife as “Aunt Emma”.  Up until learning this, I had always thought that she had called her that because she had not wanted to call her “Mom”.  It turns out Aunt Emma really was her aunt!

Mary was gracious enough to share with me some of the family pictures she had.  One of them came with a story I had never heard before:

— Mary’s Comment: “I don’t remember the man’s name but Jeanette was engaged to him and she stood him up on the wedding day left him standing at the alter [sic], a year later they got back together and on their new wedding day he left her standing at the alter [sic].”


Kaderquin and Mary were the first allies I found on this journey, but by no means are they the last.  Adventuring allies can assist you, give you advice, and sometimes, they will surprise you with a bit of family history you never knew.