My sister and I were chatting on the telephone one evening in November 2005. As she lives in Wales and I live in Dorset, this and e mails are how we keep in touch.
A chance remark my sister made that evening regarding how little we knew of our family history and my agreement how good it would be to find out more about it led us both that evening down the road of researching our family tree.
That was the beginning.
Since then we have traced back to our third great grandparents and filling in the gaps has been incredible, how they lived, where they lived and worked, and the sadness we now feel that we had not thought of starting this project when we were younger.
Our commitment and enthusiasm in our search has been such that our younger brother has also joined in with us and now all three of us are actively researching and searching through records for ancestors and members of our family tree.
Now our cousin has given us vital information we knew nothing about. The fact that it was written documentation resting within pages of our grandparents family bible,we did not know still existed but saved from destruction by my deceased uncle was pure joy.
We have found the sibling bond between us has been enhanced by our mutual interest and we are all in constant touch with each other, sometimes on a daily basis.Sometimes with distance in miles your relationship with family become distant, it's often inevitable, but ours has been brought closer together.
So not only has researching our family tree linked our past relatives together but us living ones as well.
We all three are in our fifties and our lives have become much more meaningful now, we have a purpose in life, a mutual goal you could say in finding out as much as we can in the time we have left.
We are making sure that any descendants of ours will know their family roots, where they originated from, the struggles, sacrifices and hardship some endured and we're committed to leaving our documented tree to someone in the family who will keep it safe.
If in the future our children do not share our passion we will leave it in the safe hands of the local records office archives in the hope that in some distant years to come a descendant may think as we did that night and decide to research their family tree.
It's a bit like communicating with the future even though it would be them looking at what we'd left behind, a great thought.
It's been a fantastic and time consuming experience and we have no regrets other than waiting so late in life before starting it. We've realized that you never really finish a family tree, like a real tree it grows new branches all the time.
I think when you accept that fact it becomes a pleasure and not a mindless race against time to get it finished.
I hope my story inspires others of a younger generation to research their family tree whilst they a still have many family members alive who can share their memories with them.
Christine M Pheby ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
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