Thursday, June 16, 2022

Working on Genealogy for Someone Else & Finding Surprises!

It's interesting what I find myself involved in sometimes when working on genealogy.  You just never know whom you will interact with and why.

I am a member of the Find A Grave community.  This is a website that catalogs cemeteries and records whom is buried where.
There are many older cemeteries up in my neck of the woods and I've documented quite a few people in a cemetery in Saint Johns, PA.  Including this one........

Harry P. Balliet, someone who died as an infant in 1892.(He's listed on the left hand bottom of this headstone(right side on the photo).

Back in January I received an email.  Here is how it began....

"Bom dia, Denise.

Tudo bem?

Prazer, me chamo Bruno da Silva Smith Filho e sou Brasileiro do Rio de Janeiro."

So I started reading(or trying to read)the email. WTF? It looked sort of like Spanish but not quite.  Then I saw "Rio de Janeiro" and realized it was written in Portuguese and was from Brazil!
I went to good old Google translate to decipher the message.

It seems this gentleman, Bruno da Silva Smith Filho, is Brazilian and he is looking for information on the Smith family.  Harry Balliet, the infant, had an older sister, Florence Balliet, who married Arthur Ray Smith, a veterinarian who worked in this area of PA.  Florence and Arthur had a son, Arthur Balliet Smith, who died in 1970.

Florence and Arthur are Bruno's 2 x GGrands and Arthur B. is his Great Grandfather.  After WWII Arthur B. had immigrated to Brazil so that's how Bruno's Smith line came to be in Brazil.  Florence and Arthur R. also had a daughter, Bette Lorraine Smith.  
Bette married in 1944, in Palm Beach FL to Kenneth Shergold, an Australian resident and 11 days later they flew to Australia to settle and raise their family.  I found an obit for Kenneth that listed additional relatives of his in Australia, including a daughter(who had also passed away), 6 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren(who most probably are all still living).

Bruno wanted to find any lost branches of his family who he assumed were in the USA.  He didn't know there was only one branch beside his own left and it was in Australia!  I supplied him with whatever little information I could from here about his Australian relations but tracking down his living relatives there would be on him as I had little access to information on living folks in Australia other than information I could find in an obituary.

He also wanted to find his great grandfather's birth certificate from the US.  I had to let him know the image for it was not online, just the data from it but he'd have to contact the state where Arthur B. was born, Nebraska, for assistance and I gave him the website link.
Not knowing if Nebraska officials would mail the records to Brazil for Bruno or not, I offered to have them mail it to me, within the US and I'd forward it to him via USPS Priority mail.

We had a couple of back and forth emails but he stopped replying to me a few months ago.  I guess I'll email him once more to see if I can lend any more assistance with obtaining the birth certificate.

I just think it's amazing how I got up one morning and found an email out of the blue, from Brazil, written in Portuguese from a complete stranger related to a long dead infant who I catalogued the gravesite for on a website of cemeteries.  Every family has twists and turns in their ancestry, some more than others.
Who'd a thunk it! ;-)



  1. That is very interesting. Hopefully, he is still alive and did not die in the meanwhile.

  2. Please do not do my family tree, I think most are in prison....

  3. The world gets smaller every day.



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