Story Challenge: “F” is for Finding Family

About ten years ago I began investigating our ancestors, and soon became hooked on genealogy. My mother had done a lot of work, and so had my husband’s mother, but very little was known about my husband’s father’s side of the family. Through my research I discovered that Stuart’s great-grandfather was the second son in a very large family born   near Glasgow. His mother had died after the birth of her seventh child, and his father had remarried and gone on to have another fourteen children. I made a little website and posted stories about the ancestors, with photos, really very modest but engaging.

Ian and Isabella who learnt what the internet was good for

Shortly after the stories were published an English son was taking his Scots mother for a drive in the Highlands. She asked “What good is the internet?” and he explained that you could find out anything you wanted to know. She replied that the only thing she wanted to know is what happened to her older brother who had gone to live in Australia. She had never met him and had always longed to see him. They entered a wee hamlet where there was a post-office/store with one computer for internet access. Within minutes they entered his full name and my page popped up, much to Great Aunt Isabella’s astonishment. There was the whole story of his origins and his choice to live in Australia, with photos of his wife and children.

We received a phonecall from a lady with a strong Glaswegian accent ….. “Hello Stuart, this is your great-aunt Isabella speaking!” We were astounded that Isabella was still alive, long after Stuart had lost his parents and his aunts and uncles. She was born 42 years after Stuart’s grandfather! Isabella came out to Australia to visit us, and we visited her in Sheffield where she was living in 2006. She was at peace knowing what happened to her big brother after all those years of wondering.

Stuart with his great-aunt in Sheffield 2006

We learnt a lot too, including all about her childhood memories of the house and large family she was born into. Here is a drawing Stuart did with Isabella of the house they had in the Silk Factory where her father was employed. We were fascinated with where everyone slept, and Isabella’s tales were warm and wonderful, imparting her love of the rich life she shared with her parents and all the siblings who remained in Scotland.

For other fabulous tales of the letter “F” see here!