As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, this blog and my regular genealogy website (All My Branches) has been instrumental in the “finding” of long lost and unknown relatives. I attribute my good fortune to several things.
- The use of great keywords
- Submitting my sites to search engines
- Submitting information on key family names via message boards and queries on a variety of genealogy related sites
- Posting enough information about ancestors that will aid others who are searching for specific family names
Not too long into my research, I ran across a post on a message board by an Amore relative whose name was familiar to me. Turns out, he was the son of my first cousin! We emailed constantly and shared a wealth of information with each other. When his father had to travel to my part of the country many months later, we were able to meet. I hadn’t seen him since I was very little. He also got to spend time with my sister, who he had known quite well when they were both younger. I mailed letters to many with that last name who were living in Coshocton, and soon I was also in contact with others from my Amore branch. Several others also found me through the website.
On my Johnson line, I had posted a query on a message board about my great-grandfather’s half brother and his children’s names. Quite awhile later, the grand-daughter of that half-brother, contacted me after seeing her mom’s and two aunt’s names. Since that time, we have exchanged pictures of our shared ancestors and family. She even sent me copies of letters my grandparents had written to her mom. Between her queries and my website we brought several more Johnson family members into touch with each other.
I have also heard from relatives I never knew existed: a daughter of an uncle; a daughter of a great-aunt; a grand-daughter of my gr-great aunt’s son; just to name a few. I’ve also heard from those I’ve been searching for – maybe not by name, but by relation (case in point: Rachel Blazer Given’s descendents).
In almost all of my closest family lines (Amore, Johnson, House, Wilt, Stern, Blazer, Goul, Werts) – there has been at least one distant “cousin” (sometimes closer) that has found me via the blog or website. Sometimes I’ve heard from relatives that share a common ancestor through the Caylor, Roudebush, Hollister, Loveland, or Risley line.
So as you post information on your blog or set up your genealogy website, make sure you:
- submit it to several search engines
- use good keywords
- post information to message boards or queries – not only Surname – but location and even ethnic or religious boards
- list Surnames so they are easily found
When contacted by other researchers, sharing is wonderful – but until you know enough about who you are giving information to, make sure you privatize your gedcom files. Also, make sure when you receive information from others (as is the case when surfing the web), take with a grain of salt any information that’s posted unless there are sources and accurate citations.
And if you happen to stumble across long lost relatives or those waiting to be found, enjoy the experience!