#22 on my list for 2011. DONE. Not at bad start to the year.

#22: Research 10 more people to add to my family tree.

That was on my list and I am very pleased that I have managed to cross it off my list for this year.

Finding out more about my own family history has always been something I have wanted to do, and do well. It was back in 1999 that I started asking my parents about their parents and grandparents. Apart from my Grandad, my other grandparents all died before I was 8. It meant that when I lost my Grandad (I was 17 years old), I realised that my family history was so important to me. I had loads of unanswered questions and so, a couple of years later I began asking away and finding out all that I could. My family tree looked ‘pretty good’ (for a learner in this field). I was at university studying though and so the family tree got put in a drawer and the whole idea slipped out of my mind.

12 years on and I have decided to revive the idea. I found the family tree and was surprised when I realised how much had happened in my family since I had last updated it. I had new nieces and a nephew which was great news but sadly I had lost two great-aunts, a great-uncle and one of my nieces.

I used Facebook to look for family members that I knew something about. I had lots of cousins and second cousins, on my dad’s side of the family, written in the family tree. I knew their names and I knew when they were born. I just didn’t know them and more to the point they probably knew nothing about me. That’s when I turned to Facebook. Last week I searched for a cousin with an unusual name and found them quite easily. Next, I sent a message explaining who I was and sent an ‘Add Friend’ invitation. Following this process I was lucky enough to connect with 7 cousins/second cousins. Great news.

Being able to connect with a living relative is incredibly rewarding. The internet is such a powerful tool that opens up so many doors. Luckily, one of my newly-rediscovered second cousins was kind enough to share information about new births, marriages, etc since 1999. Then came 10 new names. Family that I didn’t know I had.

My next plan is to search back through online databases and to use family history sites to research family from way back in time. I have gone back as far as 1850. It’s not too bad. The task seems rather daunting, but once I begin to discover names of family and what they did in life it will be something interesting to share with my whole family.

I’m glad I made my list. 2011 is going to be a good year for getting things done.

* You can always see the other things that I have on my list here.

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