29 July 2011

If at first you don't succeed... try AncestorSearch

The latest newsletter from UK webssite LostCousins.com contained the following story. It's such a great example of a success story using my AncestorSearch tool that I just have to share it.  It's an important reminder that exactly how you format your Google search really does make a huge difference in the results you get; AncestorSearch helps format your Google search to achieve more focused and successful genealogical search results.  See here and here for more background info, and give it a try -- even for those ancestors you've searched for hundreds of times before to no avail.

Here's the story:

If at first you don't succeed...
I was absolutely delighted to receive the following email from Edward in Australia:

My grandfather Ernest Edward Ruffell (1903-1949) came to Australia in 1924, after he had had a falling out with his father. Family legend says that his father paid for his ticket to Australia on the proviso that he never came home. Whatever the truth in this story, after my grandfather arrived he changed his surname, and went on to marry and have a family of his own. He sadly died young of tuberculosis.

When the family in England tried to reconnect with him in the early 1950s they found it almost impossible, and by the time they had, he had already passed away. They were very briefly in contact with his children in Australia, then fell out of contact again.

In one of your recent newsletters you recommended a genealogical search engine. So I went to it and entered my great grandfather Charles Alfred's name, as I had a hundred times before in other places. I was amazed to find a reference to a newspaper request for info on Charles Alfred and his wife. It had an address and phone number.

So I decided to ring the number, and was thrilled that the person who answered on the other end was my grandfather's niece (daughter of his sister). She was also thrilled and told me that the family back in England had been thinking about their Aussie relatives for years.

Anyway this has led to a wonderful reconnection with the family, with lots of photos and stories (including two more of my grandfather... previously we only had one of him).

I want to send you a heartfelt thanks for recommending the search engine, and hence for helping to reconnect a family that has been apart for over 80 years!

Every day I receive emails from researchers who claim to have "tried everything" and "looked everywhere", but it's the ones like Edward who persevere (and keep an open mind about where the next clue will come from) who get the success they rightly deserve.

The above story is from LostCousins.com founder Peter Calver's latest newsletter.