|John William Thomas|
When we arrived at the Dominy Public Library we looked through the local cemetery register that contained a listing of individuals interred in the Graceland Cemetery. I started looking for Turesa's name but in addition to T.L. Thomas I couldn't believe my good luck when I found J.W. Thomas as well. Could it be? I began my love-hate relationship with microfilm readers and tried to see what I could discover in the town newspaper, the Fairbury Blade. The cemetery book gave me a date so I started in on the right year for John W. Thomas barely knowing what to expect. I couldn't believe my eyes when I scrolled to February and there he was! J.W. Thomas!
Where was "Swausea?" Apparently nowhere. But "Swansea" is definitely a known location in Wales. After some investigation I have learned that it is a fairly common transcription error when reading handwriting to mistake a cursive "n" for a "u"; I believe this was the case in John William's obituary.
"A man of sterling qualities" and a "peaceable citizen." And surprisingly a Methodist; like me. I was raised in the United Methodist Church, but all of my living paternal relatives were raised in the Catholic Church. The patchwork of religious heritage in my family has been another welcome discovery. With every new generation I discover that all branches of my family were a mixture of both Protestant and Catholic traditions. I am glad they are all a part of who I am.
I was so satisfied to have found John William Thomas. In a way, it felt like I had really found my family roots for the first time.