Finding Joseph Bonnett, In A Gopher Hole




I have been using a genealogy website called Genealogy Gophers for a while now with excellent results. Also, I have noticed that it has appeared in some of the genealogy magazines I read as a top website for genealogy research. Many of you may have already heard about this site, but I am sure many have not. Also, I know there’re many websites vying for our attention, and this one may have been lost in the crowd. While I have reaped much information from Genealogy Gophers, I would like to tell about just one ancestor.

It was on a whim that I entered Joseph Bonnett’s name on this site to see what would come up. The Bonnett family is from my mother’s side. Just another French Canadian family as far as we knew without money or extensive land holdings. They held occupations such as farmer, tinsmith, plumber, and taxi driver. It felt like a sweet victory when the results of Joseph’s search came up. Among Gazetteers, town histories, Index of Revolutionary War Pensions applications, was a book. Not just any book but a book about him and his family. This book went into great detail so much so that I know more about him than I know about my two grandfathers. I think that is amazing considering that Joseph is my 5th great grandfather. I was to learn much information about him such as he was at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777 and many more skirmishes until he was taken a prisoner in 1780. He was taken to Chambly, Quebec, Canada and held three years until his release in January 1783 when he was exchanged. He re-enlisted and served even after the war ended in September of that year. The book also contains  information on his marriage and children. The book is well sourced with numerous copies of records used which made for easy checking of the facts.

This U.S. postage stamp was issued in 1927, the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Saratoga. Joseph Bonnett took part in this battle. The design is based on the painting by John Trumbull.

This U.S. postage stamp was issued in 1927, the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Saratoga. Joseph Bonnett took part in this battle. The design is based on the painting by John Trumbull.

According to the Genealogy Gophers website they started with an initial load of 80,000 books from Family Search. They now have well over 100,000 digitized books and are indexing them on an on-going bases. They have gathered thousands of genealogy books from other sources on the web and are searching for more. They also state they follow copyright laws and rights of authors are protected. This site is very fast and in the results you get the source plus a partial view of the page with your search terms highlighted.   You can click to read the page or pages and even download it as a PDF. The best part of all this is that it is free. That’s right completely free. The link to their website is:

It could be well worth your time to go to this site and give it a workout. You also may find some fantastic information about your family. I have made this a go-to website for me. It has added much new and helped to confirm old information on my family history.

The picture below shows Joseph’s 4th great grandson’s name on the Vietnam Memorial Wall. From the American Revolution to current history this is all part of the family’s story. A story which is part of the fabric of our American history.

My cousin's name on the Vietnam Memorial Wall.

My cousin’s name on the Vietnam Memorial Wall.


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43 Responses to Finding Joseph Bonnett, In A Gopher Hole

  1. Sandi McGinnis says:

    Thanks much!

  2. Amy says:

    Thanks for the tip! Is it only books that they have in their database?

    • chmjr2 says:

      Perhaps I should have written about this in the blog. While the main focus is on books I have found other items of interest also. A partial list of sources I have found and or used from Genealogy Gophers is: Magazines, Town Budgets, School District Reports, City Directories, Parish Registers, Burial Records, Tax Reports, Electoral Rolls, Marriage Records, Index of Wills, and even some Military Records. This is what I can recall off the top of my head.

      • Amy says:

        Interesting! I gave it a try with a few different names, but didn’t find anything…yet. But I will add it to my list of resources. Thanks!

  3. fionacalder2 says:

    This is where I think all the hard core research brings rewards. By bringing names on a page/screen alive…fantastic! I’ve not used the site but will make a point of giving it a go. Thanks

  4. KerryCan says:

    This is great! I already went and found a book I read years ago but lost track of, detailing one side of my family history!! Thanks so much!

  5. What a fantastic research asset! Thanks for sharing this tip!

  6. Kathleen Piasek says:

    Enjoyed reading your blog!

  7. Kathi says:

    I have never heard of this resource. Going to check it out right now. Thanks so much for posting and what great luck finding so much information!

  8. I’m anxious to investigate at least one person who.has continued to be a mystery; but more than that, I have valuableI formation to share that others might enjoy. It also encourages me to continue writing about family members so their lives are remembered. Thanks!

    • chmjr2 says:

      I hope this site helps you with your mystery. But more than that I am glad you may write more about your family and it’s genealogy. One reason is that you are a talented writer and your blog is so interesting. Good luck.

  9. Pingback: Finding Joseph Bonnett, In A Gopher Hole – fiona's family discoveries

  10. Jacob Moore says:

    awesome 🙂

  11. Jim McKeever says:

    What a great find, Charles! And thanks for the gopher tip … I didn’t know about that site.

  12. Sheryl says:

    Thanks for the tip! Until I read this post I wasn’t familiar with Genealogy Gophers.

  13. THANK you, Charles — I can’t say I’ve eVer heard of Genealogy Gophers. (I just pulled it up though, and I’m about to do some searching. 😉 )

    WHAT A FIND, an entire bOOk on Joseph Bonnett and his family. 😮 WOW. (That would make my day. 😉 )

  14. Thanks for introducing me to Genealogy Gophers!

  15. rose2852 says:

    I tried the site for my ancestor in South Africa. There’s nothing there at the moment but like all such sites, in time there may be.

  16. I’ve never heard of this site! Off I go!!!

  17. I love your story and the pics– both the gopher catoon and the stamp for 2cents! Most of all, I have to tell you I had never heard of this website until I read this post, but I have just spent the last three hours reading about six to ten of my immigrant ancestors to the United States! I can hardly wait to share this great site! I’ll start by sharing this great post on facebook, if that is okay. Thanks, Helen

  18. lefloreb says:

    Great tip. Congratulations on your finds. Can’t wait to check it out.

    • chmjr2 says:

      I hope it pays off for you. Let me know if you make a good discovery.

      • lefloreb says:

        Well I did discover quite a bit through other channels and then I made up the rest in a novel!!…. soon to be published. But I will check this out because I’m sure there are more stories to be told in my family history.
        All the Best, Bonita

  19. Elizabeth says:

    Thanks. This was a website I hadn’t heard of. When I started this whole endeavor, I did it all by hand and microfilm requested at the local Mormon Family History Center. I had a lot of patience then!

    • chmjr2 says:

      I know what you mean. I started my family research in the 1970s. We have so much now that we can use. But it still takes some work to get what you need.

  20. Thanks for this link – going to try it tonight!

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