Personal Experience Researching Ancestral Family Trees


I happened to be out at dinner with some friends a few nights ago. 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 experience, this is the most difficult stage. I signed up with but quickly found that there were many people with the same names I was researching, and finding the right one was virtually impossible. I turned to the help of a professional genealogist and was amazed how quickly she brought clarity to my research. She discovered my lost family through a death certificate; the person I was searching for had been the witness to the coroner, certifying the death.

From there I tracked down my half sister who I had never met. Both of us were in our mid-60’s. She kindly agreed to communicate directly with me, and a few weeks later we met at her home in the countryside of Shropshire, England. When she opened the door to meet me, I did not realize she had her daughter and spouse in the shadows, waiting to to deal with me, if I was an imposter. Today, eight years later, we are the best of friends as well as being blood relatives. We laugh about that first encounter. I have met my sister’s married daughters, their husbands  and grandchildren, and feel welcome as a member of the  family. Sometimes I need to pinch myself that this discovery really happened.

If anyone is interested to hear more about my research process, please contact me through my website at

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