Growing up, I always knew that my family didn't know much about our family history. My paternal grandfather died in his mid-30s, so he didn't have a chance to pass on his knowledge and memories to his children. We weren't even sure which country he had emigrated from!
I tried for many years to find information on that side of the family, but I didn't have much luck. A couple years ago, I attended a family history conference with Devon, and during one of the workshops I learned how to make an account on the website Familysearch.org. I entered the information I had, planning to go back later and update it as I learned new dates and names.
A few months ago, I received a Facebook message from a woman in Utah who had looked at my family tree and had an entry for a relative whose information mostly matched that of my paternal grandfather's father. After a short exchange, we were able to confirm that he was a common relative for both of us. She is a cousin through that great-grandfather's first marriage, while I descended from his second marriage. She was able to fill in a lot of background information about his adult life as a Finnish immigrant working in a Utah copper mine. Best of all, she scanned and emailed a couple photos to me.
|On the left, Great-Grandpa Matts. On the right is his son Grandpa Kurt.|
As I opened the attachment, I realized that I was the only living person in my branch of the family to ever see a photo of our great-grandfather. Of course, I quickly remedied that by writing up a short biography, attaching the photos, and sending it to my aunts, uncles, and cousins. They were so excited to learn about his life and see his face for the first time. After I learn some more facts about him and his wife, I plan to create a heritage scrapbook. Some days I still can't believe that Great-grandpa Matts has gone from being a mysterious brick wall to keeping watch over my living room from his framed photo on the piano.
|The piano in Kara's home with a variety of family members watching over her!|
Every time I read Kara's story of success, I tear up. If you haven't set up your free FamliySearch.org account, please go and to it today.
I love to hear success stories like these. If any thing you have read on A Patient Genealogist or in my books helped you be successful, please let me know. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or Google Plus.
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Kara also found my book 21st Century Family Historian full of wonderful tips and strategies for doing family history. Get your copy today at Amazon.com.