Column: Needles in Haystacks Sometimes Fall From the Sky

Between today and Wednesday, my genealogy column, Roots to the Past, is available in the following Atlantic Canada newspapers:

Saturday: The Citizen (Amherst)

Saturday: Times & Transcript (Moncton)

Wednesday: The Lunenburg County Progress Bulletin (Lunenburg County)

Title: Needles in Haystacks Sometimes Fall From the Sky

Snippet: At a recent family event, I met a man who married into the family. He had been researching his family tree for many years, and although he had extensive information on his wife’s side (my first cousin, once removed), he had ultimately hit a dead end. Her father’s surname was common and had a few different spellings. This made it difficult to find information of value on websites based overseas.

I know how he feels; I’m in the same boat with my McDonald family line. I’ve traced Alexander McDonald to Scotland, probably the Isle of Skye, but without spending oodles of time or money, it will be difficult—maybe impossible—to sort out the dozens of Alexander men to find my ancestor and his family that remained in Scotland. Still, I never give up.

Over the past thirty years, information I believed might never surface has miraculously appeared. The key was to recognise important clues and dig deeper to see if they led to anything worthwhile. An empty envelope proved to be one such clue.

One day long ago, a first cousin and I were going through a box containing old photographs, papers and an assortment of sundry items. Our grandmother had spent her final years living with her, and this box was Nanny’s.

. . . To read more, pick up one of the above noted newspapers.

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