Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Discovering Your Family History; SAMANTHA ELLEY Shakes Branches of Her Family Tree and Finds Rich and Colourful Stories of Her Family's Past

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Discovering Your Family History; SAMANTHA ELLEY Shakes Branches of Her Family Tree and Finds Rich and Colourful Stories of Her Family's Past

Article excerpt

A weekend away that turns to tragedy for a young family, a great-uncle who spends a large chunk of his life in a a[approximately]lunatic asylum' and a tenuous connection to an English baroness a these are just some of the skeletons I have found in my family tree since I started researching it more than 10 years ago.

Genealogy or researching your family history has become a very popular hobby, especially with the advent of the internet.

Ancestry.com and similar websites are enjoying an amazing growth in interest as people sign up to search through military and census records as well as birth, death and marriage certificates.

The family researcher's excitement at finding that little jewel of information about their family can be likened to perhaps scoring a goal.

While always curious about my forebears, it wasn't until the night on the internet I came across my Scottish grandfather's birth certificate on a website that I was hooked. I actually danced around the room at my discovery.

Since migrating to Australia when my mother was only sixyears old, my grandfather had kept his side of the family a huge secret.

The reasons why he never talked about his family are still a secret but that's what keeps a genealogist interested.

This first night of discovering my grandfather's birth certificate meant I also scored a win with my great-grandparents' names.

The beauty of Scottish tradition too was that my great-grandmother's middle name, also on the certificate, was HER mother's maiden name.

I was on the path to finding a whole missing branch of family.

I have since gathered more than 1500 ancestors and current family members into my tree, met and a[approximately]discovered' missing and previously non-existent cousins, found heroes and villains, cheered at some of their exploits and cried when tragedy has struck. …

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