In 2003, my 99-year old grandmother, who lived in Michigan with her daughter, my Aunt Ethel, was beginning a long, slow decline. Aunt Ethel called and asked me if I could do some online research into assisted living or adult family home facilities in their area. Being the librarian that I am, I immediately went to the Library of Michigan website. I did find a state-wide review of facilities, and was able to give my aunt some names and phone numbers of places to check out. In the process of exploring the library website, I noticed a sidebar that said, "Search the 1870 census index for Michigan." Immediately I thought of my great-great grandfather Stacy Clay Thompson, whom I'd never been able to find, either in Pennsylvania, where he was born, or in Michigan.
So, not expecting much, I typed his name into the search box. In seconds I had my answer - 14-year old Stacy Thompson was living in Blair, Grand Traverse County (where I never thought of looking for him), boarding with another family and attending school.
I was on my way!