Sunday, 21 August 2016

Who else has used Ancestry membership to connect up with long lost family? friends ?

Guilty and guilty, but such fun had it has been. 

A couple of years ago I was thinking about when  a friend of my father had died and I searched Ancestry. After a bit of sleuthing the name came up, but not only that it was his daughter who had placed a basic family tree. Lisa soon responded via the Ancestry message service and she and I were  able to share some memories.
Lisa's parents, Dom and Jan  were my brother's godparents

My dad Alf and his good friend Dom

We planned to meet up when she returned to Australia. We had shared a mutual “uncle”. Uncle John was the best friend of both of our fathers since growing up in North Sydney.  Childless and for a long time unmarried, he was often in our lives and much loved. I remember how he treated our mothers so thoughtfully, often on call for some babysitting and always a regular for dinner. Sadly John died too young followed by our parents, Alf and Marlene, Jan and Dom. We, the children lost contact. 

Lisa recently returned to reside in Australia this year. Prior to the reunion we looked for photos. Where were all our “growing up” photos? None of our parents had taken any of the weekend gatherings and holiday retreats. It was concluded that John was our family photographer and we thought of contacting his wife Nancy. 

I checked in the White Pages and then the Ryerson Index and found that Nancy had passed away only just last year. Someone might have inherited John's photos and slides of us and it was a rush to find out who had them before they were disposed of. 

Let’s try Ancestry and a bit of networking. A search found John listed in a family tree. In for a penny, in for a pound, I messaged the contact and next thing my inbox was brimming with photos -some even of my christening. Someone loved me enough to take a picture that day! 
Wow a photo of my Christening with my parents

l-r Our beloved John, Alf, Marlene, Bill, Dom, Don and Sid

There were black and white photos of John, our parents and their other friends.  It was the 50s and they were enjoying all the activities of the young and carefree. With the transition to colour there was also many photos of John surrounded by the army of children who meant so much to him back then.
The wonders of Ancestry and technology – the photos are now scanned, shared and identified. Memories have been re-lived and long forgotten photos are retrieved and cherished. I have Christening photos!
Lisa and Cathie on an outing with John
 RIP John, Alf, Marlene, Jan, Dom and Nancy. Thanks for the memories. All loved but not forgotten.
Reliving old memories and discovering the photos Robyn, Lisa and Paul
Genealogy  Hints : The Ryerson Index is an index of death and funeral notices published in Australian newspapers from 1803 to the present. At the very least it gives the funeral/death date together with the date of publication in the newspaper which can then be researched for further family information.

 Use the Ancestry Message service to make contact with tree owners. I have been a happy recipient of many photos and stories through making contact with ancestral relatives. Just add your email address to make it easy to receive files and photos. It's a great way to expand your family knowledge.


  1. How terrific to get so many family photos. I admire your enterprise in pursuing contacts through ancestry. I have made connections that way. Having a public tree with photos attached is excellent cousin bait. If someone saves a photo I often contact and ask how are we related.
    Visiting from the Australian family history bloggers' page on Facebook

    1. Hi Anne, I have recently done that too. A few months ago
      a family asked me why I was saving their records- I explained and then was able to supply them with a whole other side of the family. mutually satisfying as they were famous in Australian history.
      I'm checking out the Cross family on your blog. Loving this group.

  2. Great story! In our family collection have found photos of family friends of my parents and grandparents. I've tracked quite a few descendants down via ancestry, and returned these precious memories to their rightful families! And when my aunt died, she had some photos of her first home in Burwood, Victoria, when it was surrounded by farmland. I bundled them up and mailed them to "The Owner" at the relevant address. Got a fabulous letter back from a very interested lady who is the current owner, and had been researching the history of her house!

    1. yes, it is all too easy to dispose of photos which don't relate to us. I was recently reunited with my grandfather's albums after they ended up at my step grandmother's niece's house. Again I had "stalked" her on Ancestry- she was thrilled to pass on the album.

  3. Great ideas all round... how lovely that you have found some christening photos. They are more precious than ever as we watch our own children have their families...

    1. Thankyou, I was thrilled to make contact with Lisa again and she prompted me to find the photos.

    2. Great that you have..
      I have included your blog in INTERESTING BLOGS in FRIDAY FOSSICKING at

      Thank you, Chris

    3. Thanks Chris so glad to be invited to network.