I was interested in your article on social networking in last month's RootsWeb Review and thought I'd share my story with you.
My Mum died unexpectedly of tuberculosis just before my first birthday and I was brought up by my paternal grandparents. As I aged, I became interested in genealogy and dug up a lot of family history about my father's side. But I never really sought out my Mum's family, and having lost touch with them, things were at a standstill.
The internet of course provided some help in tracing certificates and census records, but only a few months ago I found on a family group message board a note from someone who seemed to mention a familiar name. The author of the post had no linking e-mail address, but had used a joined forename and surname as a user name. So I looked on Facebook and there was just one person with that name, living in Australia. I dropped them an e-mail asking, "Was your maiden name xxxx by any chance?"
"Yes" they replied. "Do I know you?"
It was the daughter of one of my Mum's brothers. She had the phone number of other siblings of my Mum, who lived about half an hour away from me. I have had a great time meeting my newly discovered uncles and aunts. My uncle even took me to my great-grandfather's grave-- which I'd never have found.
The final crunch. I only had one studio portrait picture of my Mum, which I thought was the only photo in existence. My newly found uncle had a picture of her holding me as a tiny baby, just before she died. Not a dry eye in the house!
The internet is a wonderful thing.
George in England
Previously published in RootsWeb Review: 9 December 2009, Vol. 12, No. 12