Even after my post yesterday on the mystery picture I found in family belongings, I had doubts that my plan of attack would yield any results. After all, what are the chances?
After posting yesterday, here’s what I did. I went to those best genealogy friends of mine, the forums on GenForum and RootsWeb. For each surname listed in the picture, I searched for a matching surname forum, and then posted my query, giving a link to this photo from yesterday’s post. I posted on any World War II forums I could find, too.
The only snag I hit in this process was the fact that there was no surname forum for one of the names in the photo: Francona. Since this was a lesser-known surname, I was hoping for better results with that name, but without a platform to shout my announcement from, I figured I’d get nowhere with that approach.
That’s when I hit upon Plan B: search that specific full name on Ancestry.com. I found two such entries in the Social Security Death Index, so I knew there were possibilities out there. And, yes, I did find an age-appropriate entry in a member’s public family tree. Thanks to the Ancestry system, I was able to send the member an email asking if her relative would possibly have served at Camp Mountain in Wisconsin in 1935. And yes! Within only a couple of hours of sending that message, I received an answer. We made a connection!
“Yes, that’s my dad,” the Ancestry.com member told me in a return message. “Boy, he sure was skinny then!”
I haven’t heard back from any others yet, though I’ve gotten hits from readers in those forums. I’m hoping to make some more connections, so that family members of Lieutenants Manning, Sanborn, Harry Ruhe, and Bill Stover will help me find homes for this unclaimed photograph. But maybe this instant result gives me a clue to pursue the second plan of action and see if I can find better results that way.
I’ve heard that “Yahoo” really means “You Always Have Other Options.” I don’t know if that is an urban legend or reality, but in this case, I’ll buy the message. There is always more than one way to solve a problem.