“My ancestors come from Norfolk and Durham. Early on in my research I knew I would need some help, as frequent trips to these places was not an option. I joined both the Northumberland & Durham and the Norfolk Family History Societies and gave them my Member’s Interest Surnames.
Much to my surprise I received a letter from “Brenda” in Norfolk, with a stamped addressed envelope, saying “these are my “Gell” ancestors do we have a match, let me know?” We did indeed have a match and her great grandmother and my grandmother were sisters. In time another five people, all related to other sisters and brothers of my grandmother, contacted me. Not only did they save me a lot of time but in some cases filled in gaps with information that I would have never discovered. One of them, Jean, sent me a picture of my great grandmother Mary Ann Mann …….. Scary, but something that I would have never seen but for the connections.
The Durham branch didn’t disappoint and likewise filled in lots of gaps when Billy, who shared part of my tree, said “ of course you know about the “Cook” connection don’t you?” Cook, Captain James Cook!? It is a very tenuous connection, through Cook’s sister and a few marriages but nevertheless a step out of the usual and he’s mine!
So come on, let me have your surnames both new members and old. I bet if you have given them before they have expanded since you started. You never know you might find out something lurking in the closet!
Member’s Interests Volunteer”
Extract: Doncaster Ancestor Summer 2012 edition
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