I love my visits to Scotland’s People where I spend the day delving into my family history. One of the best days there was a couple of years ago. Instead of going back into my family past, I traced the route forward into the near present. I traced the long gone on his present day descendants. Finding lost relatives very much alive and not far away. That moment realising that I and my small band of kin were not the only ones around was an incredible feeling of excitement.
I am part of a small, unimportant branch of a large, old family tree.
From Excitement To Disappointment
Sometimes, the excitement does not last. Yesterday at Scotland’s People I researched a branch of my Sherry ancestry to find if they have living descendants.. Starting with the long gone parents, I traced 70 years of descendants through the birth, marriage and death certificates.
Unfortunately the excitement lead to disappointment. I found a branch of close lost relatives who died relatively young within the last couple of years. They may well have known some of my long gone family, perhaps my Grandfather.
I gave up researching for the day and got the train home.
To be candid, I wasn’t just disappointed. I felt crushed.
Race Against Time
For family tree historians who wish to start a project finding lost relatives, My advice to you is to do it as soon as you can. It is a race against time. A race against time because, finding older lost relatives can paint a picture of your family history that the younger generation cant.
It’s a race against time because you may have old photographs. And you don’t know who the people smiling back at you are. Those older lost relatives could be the ones smiling back at you. Or, they knew who the smiles belonged to.
When I learn that a lost relative has recently passed away, I do feel that time has consumed a major part of my family’s story. I can’t reconstruct everything using archives.
I need to learn from the living.
Have you been in the same situation during your research?