We’ve all seen the commercials for Ancestry.com.  “I clicked on a leaf and I found my family!”…what a tag line!  But can it really happen?  Yeah…sometimes!  I’ve clicked on hundreds of  leaves in the past couple years.  I have not found hundreds of new family members because of it…but I have been connected to a couple new cousins and family lines that I had never been in contact with….family lines that were VERY incomplete until the leaves popped up.

One such “Leaf Find” happened almost 2 years ago.  I was clicking on the leaves that were on my tree to see what was there…not expecting to find anything new.  I knew most of what was continually popping up online.  However, today I had a bunch of new leaves…and I always try to remain hopeful that one day I will “Click on a leaf and find my family”.

Click…nope.  Click…nope.  Click…Nope….Whoa…WAIT A MINUTE!!  Hmmm…there’s a spouse I didn’t have before!  COOL!  Wait a minute….there are children…and MORE!  This one could be promising….I wonder who this tree belongs to…and better yet, where did they get their information.

One lesson I’ve learned about the trees on Ancestry.com is that they are not all done by the families they represent.  Some people on Ancestry.com “Collect” families.  They put information out there on families they know nothing about.  They are strictly “information collectors”.  But the creator of this tree seemed to know almost TOO much about my family.  The only thing that seemed strange was that  my Grandmother was missing from the tree….but it also said that there were 2 living siblings (so I guess one of them could be her).  I decided to try to contact the owner of the tree and see if they really are part of my family.  What would it hurt?  If they weren’t family I could simply walk away.  If they are family…well…that would be a bonus!

So I drafted up a quick email to the owner of the tree.  It’s actually harder to type that kind of an email than it is to make a cold call.  I can stumble my way thru a conversation much easier than trying to sound sane in an email.  How do you type an email that basically says…”Hi Potential Cousin…I was trolling your family tree and I think you skipped over me!”  Instead I sent the following email via Ancestry’s mail service…“Hi, My name is Karen and I have, I believe, a direct connection to your Family Tree.” ….I inserted specific information to prove our connection….and finished up the email with…  Please write back and let me know if we may be related. If we are, I have information to update your Minelli Family Tree.  Thanks!”  

To my surprise, not only did the owner of the tree contact me back within 24 hours…but her opening sentence read…“Hi Karen: I know we are related. My dad was your grandmother’s brother Salvatore (Sam)”  WOW!  That was easy!  HA HA HA….I clicked on a leaf and I found my family!  OK…so it doesn’t happen like that very often…but in this case I’m so glad it did!

I have not yet met this new part of my family…but I’m hoping we can have a mini-reunion this coming summer.  If it happens, you can be sure I’ll be posting information on my blog…so stay tuned!

In the meantime…don’t be afraid to send out those occasional emails thru Ancestry.com asking if there is a connection to the owner of a specific tree that has a lot of your family information in it.  You never know when you might “Click on a leaf and find your family”!