From Strangers to Cousins

Genealogy is my passion. I have been researching my tree for as long as I can remember. I spend a lot of time researching my family history and the family history of my friends too. Sometimes, however, I also help complete strangers with their dead ends. I love doing this as it affords me a fantastic opportunity to learn how to research new areas and to use new research tools that perhaps I haven’t had the opportunity to be familiar with before.

About 6 years ago, connected via social media, I helped a lady called Gay, in the United States, with some research. The research involved helping her to look back at her family and where they were in England back in 1901. It also involved me moving forward from the information that I found.

She wanted to pay me but I do this for pleasure and I point blank refused! I spent a few evenings on the research and sent it all off to her and didn’t really think much more about it. I enjoyed it. I learned from it. I hoped that it would perhaps help her a little on her way.

We kept in touch every so often by email. 2 years later we met at the International Jewish Genealogical Conference in Boston, USA. She presented me with a beautiful scarf as a thank you for my help. It was unnecessary but I was very touched. We spent some time together getting to know each other and it was great to put faces to names. Our lives were pretty busy after the conference and we didn’t email each other again.

Three years later, out of the blue, I received an email from her with a photograph. The work that I had done for her and the leads that I had given her had led to real live people. The photograph is of Gay and her new cousins. The two cousins that I found for her didn’t know each other or that they lived in the same city and now they have both traveled to meet Gay.

I research for the challenge and the enjoyment of it but I won’t deny it, bringing families together, all over the world is a really great feeling.


Gay, is pictured, wearing Red.







Author: catcandothat

I like to write, read, knit, cook, travel, dye my hair, obsess about genealogy and I'm learning to code. In my spare time, I have a full-time job and family to care for. I have previously written as Lentils

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