Ok, so my cousin came over and she told me that she's a "silent observer" to this blog, so at least for her sake, if for no one elses, I'll update this more often. I thought no one read this or cared, so I never wrote in here much.
I stand corrected! :)
So, here goes:
Our stake had the fast for April the week before conference weekend, so it was March. I chose to focus on my dead ends of family researching, to have divine help and intervention from the Other Side to help me find these elusive people. I mean, come on people! Do I need to slap you around when I get to the "other side" with you? A little help, please!
So a few days after my fast, I went online. I googled "Mapleton Iowa" since that is where Francis O'Neil is buried. I ended up at the City Hall website, called their office number, and asked if there was a historical society in their town. She was polite, and told me "NO!" but she did give me a phone number to call, of a very kind man. He turns out to be a retired school teacher who is devoting his retirement to a museum and helping people research their families. I love this man, Keith Robinson. He's awesome!!!!
So I called him up, never expecting a return call. After all, he doesn't know me from Adam, plus it's long distance and not everyone has a good calling plan like Ryan and I do. So I didn't really expect much. Ha! Under five minutes later Keith called me from his cell phone and asked how he could help me. When I told him that I was researching my husband's line, and that we had written down that Francis and family were buried in his town, but that I wanted proof, he asked what the family surname was. I told him "O'Neil." pause. pause. "That wouldn't be Francis O'Neil, would it?" is the next sentence out of the mouth. I swallowed hard, trying to conceal the excitement building in my stomach, and said, "Yes, that would be my husband's 3rd great-grandfather." I could hear the smile on his face.
So then Keith asks me if the name Elizabeth Durst means anything to me. No, I tell him. Should it? He then explained to me that she lived to be over 102 years old (!) and three years ago he was one of her pallbearers. I'm thinking, um....what's the point to this? I already told him I don't know her!
So glad I kept that to myself! The next thing: she was Francis' granddaughter. And she donated everything historical to his museum. Ok, now I really can't contain it any longer. I ask him what exactly he has.
Oh, nothing much. Just the family Bible. And pictures. And newspaper articles. And actual artifacts from their hotel. Nothing at all. :)
He asked me to send him via email my mailing address and phone number again, promised he'd get this packet of info off to me and to watch for it in the mail.
Wowza!!!!!!! Thank you Heavenly Father for inspiring me to google that little quaint town in Iowa. I-O-Way!!!!!!
So it came the other day. Man! Talk about info! Plus, there's an aunt out there we never knew about, 93 and sharp as a tack as Keith puts it.
So I'm planning on calling her later this week, possibly today. Wonder if she knows anything from prior to America, like the Ireland info I'm now wondering about.
I'll post the stories as I get them typed up. They're in Word now, on his computer, I'm sure. I'm retyping them so they're on my computer now, and as I complete them I'll let you in on them.
I know this is a very looooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnngggggggggggggg post and I'm sorry for that. But I had too much to blog about. Too many blessings.