I can count my first cousins on one hand and still have a thumb to spare. So when author and family historian Crista Cowan told me how many living cousins she had tracked down in the course of just a handful of years, I was floored.
Crista would have needed nearly 1,000 of my hands – thumbs included.
It wasn’t just a giant family tree that Crista was trying to populate. She was gathering all of the living descendants of one of her own ancestors, a great-great-great-grandfather, for a family reunion. One very, very big family reunion.
Using a combination of Internet tools, genealogy tricks, and the kindness of relative strangers (who happened to be descendants of the same g-g-g-grandfather), Crista tracked down almost 5,000 living descendants of Samuel Milliner for the celebration of his 200th birthday last summer. Better still, Crista survived to talk about it – and to start planning another reunion for next summer.
Crista’s how-to tale is just one of the stories in the November/December issue of Ancestry magazine. You’ll also find features on how history affected courtship, spotting a child from another mother in a family tree, and the latest from columnists Myra Vanderpool Gormley, Howard Wolinsky, Megan Smolenyak Smoleyak, and more. Plus you’ll get to see what happened when we put our own family history wish-lists up for bid on Expert Connect at Ancestry.com (hint: we’re all celebrating a bit early this year).
Ancestry magazine subscribers should start receiving the November/December issue this week. (Not a subscriber? You’ll also find individual copies in larger bookstores and on the Shop button at Ancestry.com. Or visit www.ancestrymagazine.com for articles and more information).
As always, I’d love to get your feedback on the articles we write. You can reach me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or become a fan of Ancestry magazine at Facebook and drop me a line there. And if there’s something you’d like to see Ancestry magazine cover in 2010, I definitely want to hear that, too.
About Jeanie Croasmun
Jeanie Croasmun has been working at Ancestry.com while futilely attempting to prove the horse thief story in her family history for over seven years. During that time, she learned enough about her family to determine that the story is likely a great work of fiction. But the search continues ...