Publisher’s note: Charlotte wrote a couple blogs about Danish genealogy in the past. Here is her story about connecting with a long lost relative – one of the joys of genealogy research.
One day, more than a year ago, an e-mail landed in my in-box. A man from Racine, Wisconsin contacted me, because we had some ancestors in common. All his grandparents had immigrated to the USA from Denmark, and the programme we both use to make our familytree, had found a match between our trees. He had been searching many years for relatives from Denmark, using the programme, hoping that one day someone would register the name of one of his grandparents. It turned out, that one of his grandfathers had a sister, and she married my great-great father.
At first we exchanged several e-mails through the mail system in the programme, getting to know each other better. Then we exchanged email addresses, and after a while he asked me if we could Skype. At first I was very nervous. I had never done that in English before, but we tried and our friendship evolved. He had some letters the family in Denmark had sent to America, and asked me if I would translate them for him, and I did. Some of them were from my family and it was so much fun and also emotional for me to read those letters and see the pictures they had sent to America.
I started to help him find the relatives from his other grandparents here in Denmark and so far we have tracked down his Danish family for three of his grandparents, using my research in Danish Churchbooks, Emigration records and the Danish Census, his notes, old pictures and letters he had inherited, where some of them had names and places written.
And the best thing is, that we now Skype once a week, talking about everything and it feels like we have known each other for ever, even if it has just been 15 months. At first of course, it was mostly about our ancestors and what we had found in our research during the week, but after a while our friendship just grew bigger, and we found that we had so many things in common. We talk about our countries, politics, music, movies and everything that is on our minds. And also asking each other about how you do this and that in the other country. Sending pictures of our daily activities and places we visit and go to is also a big part of our friendship. Or sending links for things we know the other person will find interesting. We call it our homework assignments. So now, I think almost daily of the things I do, would my friend like to see this or know that about Denmark, or I make notes about things I would like to ask him next time we talk. And we both keep an effort in doing this and using the time for it. And as my friend says: it keeps an old man off the streets ☺
So you can say, that finding my ancestors, has given me so much more than just the names I wanted for my familytree in the first place. It has given me a friend for life.