Just last week I sent the Memoirs of my uncle, Nelson Craig, who is a retired RCMP officer, to the printer. Uncle Nelson was unsure about some distant ancestors on his father’s side, believing that they had arrived in Canada via Ireland and Scotland; he knew nothing about his maternal grandmother’s background, other than the fact that she was born in India and her maiden name was Sladen. So I started a Family Tree for him to see what I could find. Very slowly, the tree began to grow, but only the Canadian branches, so when I included the tree in the book, that’s all that I had.
Then, a few days after the book was printed, I received an email from David in Scotland who had noticed that I’d acquired a few facts from his Ancestry.com family tree – a tree that had come up as a “hint” with regard to Nelson’s maternal grandfather Thirlwall. Well, David had a little more to tell me about the Thirlwalls, and lots to tell me about the Sladens! It turns out that David is a second cousin, twice removed to Uncle Nelson, being a descendant from the brother of Nelson’s grandmother. He not only gave me the missing dates and places of births and deaths, but he had stories to tell about wealth and poverty and royal ancestors! My uncle is thrilled to hear these stories, and I’m excited to add these new pieces to the puzzle.
David says there are lots of Craigs in Scotland. Perhaps I should take a trip there to see what’s to be discovered. Wouldn’t that be exciting! Think of the stories I’d have for both this blog and my travel blog!
If you love to solve puzzles, if you’re curious about what makes you who you are, start a family tree. You’ll be amazed at what you find. Here is one example:
There has been a history of heart disease in my immediate family. My mother suffered a mild heart attack when she was in her seventies, and my older sister experienced two major heart attacks and various other heart problems for many years until she passed away in 2012, at the age of 75. My other sister and I have both been diagnosed with irregular heart rates. This past week I received in the mail a stack of information about the second family of my long lost maternal great-grandfather. This material included several death certificates that indicated that many of the people, mostly the women, had died from “heart troubles”. Now that’s an interesting fact for my own health records!
How did I find all of this? Well it took a few years, and a lot of research. I started with Ancestry.ca where I entered all the information that I had from family records and stories. Then I used the search tool to search available records. I also searched and posted on some genealogy forums, such as Genealogy.com where I found someone in Cincinnati looking for relatives of his grandfather, who just happened to be my great-grandfather. Unfortunately, by the time I found his posting he no longer had the same contact information, but I used what information he had provided to once again do an Ancestry.ca search. This is how I found my great-grandfather’s second family.
Recently I was contacted through Ancestry by another person who was researching a family tree, looking for these same people. She was from the US too. She asked how I’d found my information and I told her about the post on the Genealogy.com forum. To make a long story short, she eventually tracked that man down, he sent her copies of the papers he had, and she sent copies to me. WOW
So what discoveries have you found in your tree?