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My Great Grandpa Tom (middle), photo credit Texas Energy Museum

Great Grandpa Tom (middle), photo credit Texas Energy Museum

When researching our family roots, we tend to look in the typical places. Census reports,, libraries and oral histories from your family members are the best sources for building a foundation. But how do you add flavor to your research and how do you illustrate the lives our ancestors lived? Looking at the non-typical places can be a needle in a haystack, but it can bring a pleasant surprise.

One of our member’s mother was recently touring the Texas Energy Museum and discovered a photo of her grandfather. Imagine walking by photos and seeing a photo of your grandfather hanging on a wall. The photo was of men working on an oil rig and there was Grandpa Tom right in the middle. What a great surprise and a wonderful image of seeing your grandfather in his youth.

Some ideas where you might find your Great Grandpa

Keep your eyes open, you never know what you’ll find.

*Please remember most images are copyrighted and some are public domain, so always ask before using.

Photo by Wally G

Photo by Wally G

The 17-century Bowne house in Flushing, Queens is getting restored after ownership was transferred to the city. With $5 million from the city, state and private groups, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe announced the plan to restore it is moving “full speed ahead,” according to the Daily News.

Benepe noted that “the Bowne family has also left its mark on the city again and again, helping New York City become the cradle of tolerance and diversity.” The house is looked at as a symbol of religious freedom; the original owner John Bowne was arrested in 1662 for allowing Quakers to worship there (the faith was banned at the time under New Amsterdam law).

The home is the oldest structure in the borough, and the restoration will hopefully be done by 2012.

via Gothamist

Photo by Wally G

The Browne House Historical Society