Watson/McGregor Photos

September 2001
Debi Burgess Sends Dozens of Watson Photos 
I’ve had some exciting happenings in my little genealogy world. First, never ever get discouraged if you hit “the wall.” I thought I was stuck, couldn’t find descendants, couldn’t find ancestors, so I posted surnames and queries all over the internet using Ancestry.com and Rootsweb message boards.

The very next day, I received an answer to my post about the Watson branch. Try to follow this one: my grandmother Ariel’s father’s sister, Aunt Mary Watson married Jack McGregor. They had a son named William Robroy McGregor in 1893–my grandma’s first cousin. William left home around 1920, working for the railroad. He ended up in California. I never met him, and never heard my grandmother speak of him; in fact, she didn’t even tell me his name when she gave me the family tree info, just told me about his sisters Margaret and Winnifred.

Well, seems William died in the 1970s in California. His best friend was executor of his will. His best friend died in October 2000. A woman named Debi Burgess (a WONDERFUL woman) from Missouri went with her husband to California to clean out her deceased husband’s uncle’s house. She came across pictures and mementos that had belonged to a man named William Robroy McGregor. She saw the uncle’s name listed as executor of the estate and assumed that’s how he got Mr. McGregor’s artifacts.

What would you do with those items? Well, Debi is a genealogist at heart. She couldn’t bear to think that some descendant would miss out on these precious photos, so she packed them up and took them home, determined to find the new owner-to-be. She looked on a few message boards, but found nothing.

The night I posted my messages, she had decided to try again. She found me, but I had no one with the name William in my tree! After finding a letter with my Aunt Gertie mentioned, my aunt and uncle, Harry and Min mentioned, William’s sister Margaret mentioned (and I did have her in the tree), we started to assume that they were my family mementoes. Then Debi started scanning and sending pictures to see if I recognized anyone. Imagine my surprise when she sent me a picture of my gggrandmother, Mary Watson! I have the same picture, with the same inscription on the back of it in my possession. Debi and I were both thrilled that she had found me and she sent the pictures priority mail–without accepting reimbursement–2 days later. In the box were dozens of family pictures (most, sadly, without names), but some, including my ggguncle Jack Wilson in full highland gear, pictured here, were recognizable, and I’m still working on the rest.

Thank you, Debi, you’ve made me a very happy woman.

By the way, when the pictures arrived, I found a picture of my grandmother in the packet. So, the bottom line is: a woman in Missouri cleaned out her husband’s uncle’s house in California and found pictures of my very own grandmother. It’s a crazy world.

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