I happened to be out at dinner with some friends a few nights ago. As well as discussing the issues of the moment such as Cuba, the Middle East, Washington Politics, the price of oil, and family matters, the topic of my novel An Unplanned Encounter was raised, followed by questions regarding visiting Europe. My host is busy researching her family’s genealogy and has already learned that her parents’ names originate in and around London and in Ireland. She now wishes to move to the next level of investigation; to research her blood line within the family surnames that she has identified.
Reflecting on my own experiences, the next chapter of research faced by my friend can be the most difficult. It is a slow, research-intense process, often reaching dead-ends (no pun intended) or encountering lineage lines that turn out to be irrelevant. As I researched my missing family tree a few years ago, I still vividly remember these frustrations. In my case, by using Ancestry.com and a professional genealogist located close to where my missing family might have lived, it took only 3 months to complete the research and discover and contact the family that I previously had never known existed.
It is now approaching the fifth anniversary of meeting my half-sister for the very first time when we were both in our mid-60’s. So often I hear from readers of my novel that they wished that they had researched their family tree before it became too late. It probably is never too late to conduct this investigation; the problem is that the details of why things happened are often taken to the grave by our family members. In my case I discovered my history from my mother during the very last time I was with her while she was alive. That was my permanent good fortune.
If anyone is interested in more details of my discovery process and the resources I used, please contact me through my website at www.jonathanhusband.com.