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The World of Genealogy, It’s a Small World

Megan

It's a small world, the world of genealogyThese days with the internet I have discovered that in the world of genealogy, it’s a small world.   At the touch of a keyboard, you can be searching records from the other side of the world from the comfort of your couch.  Or chatting with a fellow genealogist who turns about to be a distant cousin as excited by your discoveries as you are.  Ancestry and FindMyPast have thousands of searchable records and for a subscription, you can download scans of original documents – Census Records, Shipping Lists, Convict Records, and many other types of records.  At the touch of your keyboard, the world is opened up to you.




Before the Internet

It's a small world, the world of genealogyThis was not always the case.  In my early days of family history research, the only way to look up information was to head into a Library, Archives, or into a local Family History Society.  I would spend time prior to going working out what I wanted to search prior to heading off.  Then I had to organise to find time to spend hours to trawl through microfiche.  However, the thrill finding that elusive piece of the puzzle made the effort worthwhile.  Sometimes I would spend hours to come away with nothing, but other days it seemed that in every corner I looked I found something.  Not all repositories held the information I required.  How could a small Library or Society ever hope to hold the trillions of records held worldwide?  They couldn’t.


The world of genealogy

However, with the ever-increasing popularity of the internet, the world of genealogy has become smaller.  It is so easy to find a website and conduct a search for the record you want.   I must caution you, however, that whilst there are loads of records online, there are many, many more that are yet to be coded into searchable terms.  The importance of physical repositories – libraries, archives, family history societies – must not be discounted in this age of instant information.  This means it is advisable to keep an open mind when you find a record as it is possible the record of your ancestor is yet to be uploaded.


The power of the internet at work

I have loved my time researching genealogy and have found distant cousins in places I never expected to find them, such as Wisconsin, USA.  My dad is from Staffordshire and so most of my focus for his family has been in this region of England.  On his side, for the most part – there is the occasional outlier – , his family stayed within a few miles of each other.  Mum’s family has been infinitely more adventurous and I have found them all over England, Scotland, and Australia.

It's a small world, the world of genealogyI wanted to surprise dad a couple of years ago with some photos as he didn’t have many.  A house break-in had seen his computer and backups stolen.  I met Lindsey on Ancestry, whose mother is my father’s cousin and remembered him fondly.  They had lost touch when we moved to Australia.  Lindsey managed to get some photos of his family that we didn’t have.  I also tracked down his great-nieces and great-nephew via Facebook as he’d lost touch with them after the break-in and they sent me some more.  I had the makings of a great photo book for him.

I had found connections to the Walker side of my family but was still struggling with the Stokes.  Dad spoke fondly of his Stokes cousins and I set out to find them.  I found them online but I couldn’t work out how to get the information as the British phone book was pay to view.  I asked Lindsey if she would mind looking it up for me.  Imagine my surprise when I woke up to a message the next morning.  She had discovered they lived around the corner from her.  She walked around, knocked on their door, and told them I was looking for them!  I was able to call them and got their email address which enables me to keep them updated on what is happening in our lives.  I am very much looking forward to meeting all these people I have traced in England when I travel to the UK later this year.


It’s a small world

it's a small world, the world of genealogyBack in about 2003, I put a post up on a genealogy forum to find information regarding my maternal grandfather.  I heard nothing for many, many years when out of the blue about 4 years ago I received a phone call from Shelley.  Her father is my grandad’s brother and she was researching the same family and happened across my post.  She had never found anyone else searching this line.  The irony is that if I had put the post in my current surname she would never have found me – it was lucky that I posted this whilst I was still married as my married name is very, very uncommon.  Walker is harder to narrow down!

Shelley is a cousin of my mum and they have never met.  A family estrangement had them not even knowing the other existed.  Shelley and I have kept up over the years, sharing research, chatting on Facebook.  Then early last year my son and I made a quick trip to Perth to see a dying relative and Shelley, on learning I was in Perth, organised to pick us up.  She took us back to her sister’s place to meet her father, my great-uncle.  It was the most amazing feeling to meet this family that I had never known.

I hear stories regularly from others who have found family members.  One lady contacted me recently as a result of this blog to tell me her happy story – here it is in her words:

I have been looking for relatives on my grandfather’s side (my mother’s father’s side) reached out to a cousin I had never met and she contacted me back! We talked for a long time today and I found out they had been looking for me for years as well.  I not only spoke to her, but two of her sisters! We are going to get together in spring for a huge family dinner. YAY! I am over the moon right now.


This is the power of the internet at work.  Do you have a great story like the one from my reader?   Please share it with me.  Finding long lost relatives is an exciting experience and can bring you such feelings of joy.


What have you got to lose?  You never know when you will find a family connection you never knew existed!  Join Ancestry or FindMyPast today to find the family you’ve always wanted to know.

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16 Comments

  1. Yvette Clayton
    January 16, 2018 at 8:13 am

    You are absolutely correct when it comes to the power of the internet. We can find out so much more information now than we could ever before. The sites we have at our fingertips to provide information is amazing! It is so heartwarming to get to know new family and have that much needed connection. Thank you for sharing this info and your own family stories.

    Warm Regards,
    Yvette

    • Megan
      January 16, 2018 at 9:32 am

      Hi Yvette

      Thank you for your lovely words. It is such a great forum for me to tell stories about my family. I hope that my children and other family members also benefit from this site.

      Regards,
      Megan

  2. Fred
    January 16, 2018 at 11:21 am

    I’m glad you connected with your family. I know that had to be really exciting for you. This has got me thinking about wanting to trace my family down. I may use your post ,to check back on, and get started.

    • Megan
      January 16, 2018 at 12:35 pm

      Hi Fred

      It is very exciting to find family that we don’t know or never knew we had. I am glad that my enthusiasm for my ancestry is making you think about tracing yours. That’s what this blog is about – sharing my passion.

      Regards,
      Megan

  3. Stella
    January 16, 2018 at 8:23 pm

    Wow! what an interesting story.I am great that you finally connected with your family because there is nothing greater than family.Yes internet has help a lot of people in achieving their goals including me.It is a modern way of living. You story has help me to know that through internet i can trace my ancestry.Thank you for giving me hope.

    • Megan
      January 16, 2018 at 8:54 pm

      Hi Stella

      I am so glad that my story of discovery has inspired you to search for your ancestry. Please feel free to contact me if I can help you with anything in your genealogy journey.

      Regards,
      Megan

  4. Tyler Redlev
    Tyler RedlevReply
    January 17, 2018 at 7:02 am

    Geneology is one of the most important practices in the world now. It’s not only about finding roots and ethnicities but it’s also about curing diseases and offering people a better life.

    There are many undiscovered effects of our genes and it may sound Sci-fi to you but one day we will find immortality thanks to geneology.

    • Megan
      MeganReply
      January 17, 2018 at 9:30 am

      Hi Tyler

      The world of genetics and genealogy are a very interesting area!

      Regards,

      Megan

  5. Dom Valentine
    January 20, 2018 at 9:36 am

    Hi Megan – we’ve managed to follow our roots back to the early 17th Century – very complicated the earlier it gets. But you do feel like Columbo or someone on Who Do You Think You Are! Your site is a wealth of info for those who would like to know more about their own family tree.
    I’ll be back!

    • Megan
      January 20, 2018 at 4:20 pm

      Hi Dom

      17th Century – that’s VERY impressive. It does get harder the further back you go due to the limited records kept but it is so satisfying when you work it out. Glad you are enjoying my blog.

      Regards,
      Megan

  6. Fred
    January 20, 2018 at 10:13 pm

    As I read over , somehow I wonder about all of my relatives. That I don’t know about and where they might live. I’m really curious about the origin of my fathers name and his ancestors. Guess I will have to break down and sign up on ancestry.com.

    • Megan
      January 21, 2018 at 8:58 am

      Hi Fred

      It is a very addictive hobby and I love finding out about my ancestors, where they lived, and what they did. Sometimes you will have an elusive one, but when you find out about them it is so gratifying. If you need any help in your research feel free to send me a message.

      Regards,
      Megan

  7. Lane
    LaneReply
    January 20, 2018 at 10:24 pm

    Your site really provokes me to wanna go and search my family out. I’m just afraid of the time that it will take. Time is something that I have in short supply. However, for the larger benefit of it, I know it’s just a lousy reason not to go and look it up.

    • Megan
      January 21, 2018 at 8:51 am

      Hi Lane

      Time is always something we say we don’t have enough of but when we sit down and work out what we do in a day we often find wasted time. Genealogy is something that takes time, however, it is also something you can put in a little bit or a lot of time. Now that there is so much information on the internet, you can fill in 30-minutes at home doing a quick search for a record. It’s not as time-consuming as going to a library or family history society – they are still brilliant resources for information not on the internet yet, but the internet is a great tool to get started. It’s a great hobby and, as I have said in this post, you can find family you did not know existed!
      Regards,
      Megan

  8. Penelope
    PenelopeReply
    January 25, 2018 at 3:49 am

    It IS a small world. I would have never found or connected with my family without these DNA services. I have been spending the last couple months meeting my new relatives and learning more about my family history. It’s SO eye-opening, and I’m so grateful for what the DNA test uncovered. best $70 ever spent. I bet your dad was delighted that you unearthed your cousins and could reconnect!

    • Megan
      January 25, 2018 at 9:20 am

      Hi Penelope

      I am so glad you have been able to find relatives using the DNA testing! I haven’t been brave enough to do one as I have some reservations about the legal implications. Dad was very excited to hear I had connected with his family and he loved the photos they sent over for him.

      Regards,
      Megan

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