While at the Dallas Historical Society Library (see Second Genealogical "Find"), I also saw a letter from a William Mann with a letterhead of the Mann's Axe Company, Lewiston, Mifflin, Pennsylvania, to someone in the Routh family. It was dated in the 1870's, and thought it unusual since Stephen Gillette Mann had died in June, 1846. We had little information on the Mann Family, but I made a couple of notes from this letter, not knowing when it would be useful.
As part of my profession dealing with networking computers, I spent a week each year in Salt Lake City for a Novell networking software conference. Well, we all know what is in SLC - the LDS Family History Library. After the bug hit, I anxiously awaited those weekly conferences every year to spend in SLC and to take a few evenings after the daily conference to spend in the library or on the computers in the Joseph Smith Building where ALL of the CDROMs of Family Search are on a network file server and the searches are instantaneous - no CDROM shuffle as you have to do in the local FHC libraies.
By 1997, I had been trying to find information on my wife's Mann line, but hadn't had much luck. So, in March when I was in SLC again, I went to the Joseph Smith Building to check the catalog for the surname Mann and for resources on Mifflin County, Pennsylvania. I briefly perused the entries, but did not go any further. I went to meet my wife for dinner, and then something told me to go back to the JSB to look at the catalog again. Knowing by this time that you need to pay attention to that "still small voice", I told my wife that I was going back. She went off to do something else. As I searched the catalog, I printed off some likely sources, and then went through Temple Square to the library to look at the sources. To my great surprise, I found a "History of Juniata Valley, Pennsylvania" of which Mifflin County is part of, and there was a page of family history about the Mann family. It wasn't until I found the next source, "The Autobiography of Robert Mann", that I realized what I had found. The autobiography was written in 1897, by the brother of my wife's 3rd ggrandfather, Stephen Gillett Mann. In it, Robert writes about his older brother Stephen, when, in failing health, he went to Tennessee and partnered in a blacksmith shop/axe foundry with a Mr. Howe (actually Patton Howell), and married his sister (acutally sister-in-law Eleanor Routh). Besides the family background, there were four pages of genealogy at the end of the autobiography that he wrote for his posterity! With the autobigraphy, I could now put together the additional information that was in the history source on Juniata Valley together and previous information I had collected, and pushed the Mann ancestry back two more generations! But to have found that autobigraphy was just amazing because of the family background it contains. I photocopied all 88 pages of the autobiography from the microfilm, and after I got back to the motel, I had to read several pages to my wife about her ancestry that I had found that night! Amazing to find this almost exactly 100 years after Robert Mann had written it.
Now, I have some Irish research to do to find Thomas Mann, my wife's fifth ggrandfather and his wife, Mrs. Thankful Mann.
Listen to that still, small, prompting voice!