Tuesday Twigs: Family Reunion!

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Lindstrom cousins, Fort Dodge Iowa; image via personal collection

We had a Lindstrom family reunion over the weekend in Fort Dodge, Iowa.  Although none of us currently reside there, it was the place where the Oscar Lindstrom and Alta Fuller met and married.  I, being the family genealogist, had charge of all the historical bits and bobs.  I’ll have to tell you the story of the above picture, of which I am especially proud.

I had created a ‘tour map’ of the Otho township area in Webster County, marking pertinent places such as the cemetery (where we placed flowers on family graves), the church where the said marriage took place, and farm locations from 1909.  We decided to do a scouting mission on Friday night after we got to Fort Dodge, to make certain that the roads were still open and accessible .  I knew the land where the first farm had been was vacant, just land now, but the second farm had buildings (thanks to google maps!).  We drove on the dusty gravel roads and located the farm – did I see old buildings back there?  We pulled in to check it out – although my kids did not share my enthusiasm, I got out to see if the owners were about.

The current owners were there and I had a great conversation with Debbie Krug.  She was absolutely enthusiastic when I asked if we could all visit the following day and even showed me the original barn and corncrib on the property!  What a find!

The next day, when our convoy of seven cars arrived, she graciously allowed us all the time we needed to tromp around and look at the barn boards, etc.  We have several cousins in the construction industry and also many who grew up on farms, so there were plenty of examinations and discussions!  She even took our picture (above) in front of the old corncrib!  And gave me copies of the original chain of deeds to the property!

This was really a lesson to me in the power of asking and approaching people.  This amazing opportunity, which some cousins said just made the whole reunion for them, would never have happened had I not the social courage gained from years of navigating and publicizing my own historical research business.  When you love what you do, the enthusiasm is contagious. Yay!

Tuesday Twigs: Cold branches

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tree” (CC BY-ND 2.0) by  .christoph.G. 

I’m helping to organize a family reunion this summer and am trying to fill out those branches that the family has lost touch with over the years.  It is really challenging detective work to suss out living people and connections and places but the internet and social media are a godssend for research like this!

So the question is, once I’ve found long lost relatives on places like facebook, how do I approach them without sounding creepy or stalkerish?  I really do want to reconnect with them and let them know about our mutual family tree and the upcoming reunion.

Have you had success with the ‘cold call’ approach for long lost relatives?  What suggestions do you have for making the best approach?  Thanks for all your help and I’ll surely let you know how it goes!