Monday, June 25, 2012

Jamestown, Kansas - June 2011, by Mary Lou Montez

My sister, Barb Harnett Woodbeck, and I have been hot on the trail of the HARNETT Family History Mystery for the last two years. Family lore says our great-grandfather, David Harnett, came from County Cork, Ireland in the late 1840s and died in Jamestown, Kansas in 1913. We had never seen Jamestown or the cemetery there where the Harnett family was buried, so we headed out from Lincoln, Nebraska last June to “see it in person.”

It was SOOO hot – over 100 – when we arrived in Jamestown. The town was tiny, and there were NO people anywhere. We drove up and down the main street, finally stopped at the City office and went in. A PERSON was actually there – one woman, who not only was in charge of the office but, amazingly, had the cemetery plat maps in the back room. She showed us how to find the cemetery and let us use her bathroom. Our lives were saved.

When we left, she promised to send us anything she could find out after talking about our family to a group of
“old folks” who meet for coffee frequently in Jamestown. She followed through and e-mailed her results – along with suggestions to help us at the Cloud County Historical Society in Concordia, Kansas, not very far from Jamestown.

Although the trip did not lead to a breakdown of the brick wall in our search, the kindness of one person in a
town too tiny to attract the attention of nearly anyone in 2011, helped us wedge a crack in it.

[Editor's note: This is one of a series of “genealogy travel and research” articles submitted by our members.]

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