Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Breaking through Brick Walls Part 5: Descendancy Research

Finding Current Descendants

In the last year I have found TEN living families that are descendants from my Moore and Thennes line. I have found cousins I did not even know existed. How did I do it? By doing exactly what I have explained in the previous blogs on descendancy research. In the beginning it was cluster research where I sniffed out my grandfather’s brothers and sister in order to find out more about him. So cluster research and descendancy research go hand in hand.

Three branches of my family I found via their family trees. Remember I go searching for trees for my ancestors every few months or so. One branch of my tree came walking into my local Family History Center! No lie- we share the same third great grandparents, Nathaniel Jackson Moore and Rebecca Adams. Her great great grandmother was a sister to my great great grandfather.

The remainder five lines I found on ….Facebook! Yes Facebook!!! Let me tell you it does help to have “different” names to be able to search. Moore is a common name, but my Mom’s maiden name of THENNES is not. Shortly after my mom passed, I decided to go on a mission and learn about her father, my grandfather Fred Thennes. Now I know this has little to do with my Texas Moore History, but the concepts behind them are still the same.

With this line, I simply typed the name THENNES in to Facebook. I have been told any search under 1,000 is doable. Ha Ha This was under that number so I began to look at what had pulled up. The second name I clicked on did not have a THENNES last name but I figured her maiden name was Thennes. In looking at her profile, I saw that magical word of Michigan and the home town of my mom. I instantly emailed her, her reply to me was “How do you pronounce our name?” There are many different ways that people pronounce it, but only those in the family seem to know the right pronunciation. I passed the test and she accepted me as family. (Family branch 1) I had many questions because I had only met my grandfather once for just a few seconds and I truly wanted to get to know who he was. She told me she would ask her father my questions. When I did not hear anything from her in a couple of weeks, I posted on her wall. There her mother (Family branch 2) saw it and directed me towards her GRANDMOTHER (Family branch 3)!!! Her grandmother directed me to her first cousin and also sister in law (Family branch 4) who not only knew my Grandfather the best but took care of him. I learned a great deal about my grandfather. Not only did I come to love a man I never knew, but gained so much compassion and respect for him. I thought how sad how our remarks and judgments keeps us apart from people we would probably love if only given the chance.

Another line I found on Facebook also belongs to my Mom. I only knew one set of cousins growing up and that was my MAKOSKY cousins in Michigan. We spent many a summers in Michigan and they many a summers in Iowa. I had always wondered what became of them, especially Ricky. Tomorrow, I will tell you how I once again connected with this family on Facebook, but how it took a little bit of detective work to get to that point.

Facebook really is a great tool to connect with people. I know there are all the Privacy Issues, but my simple reasoning is if you don’t want people to have you phone and address DON’T LIST IT ON FACEBOOK. I have been on now for over two years with never a problem. I am actually very glad such a thing exists because it is a great way to gather long lost friends and family and connect with them!


  1. I have used Facebook as a resource too, and it is an amazing tool to connect people. One of my clients had a very unusal last name. Her family originally came from Corsica and immigrated to the Domician Republic, Brazil and P.R. It has been very difficult finding infomation, even though the name is not common. In France since 1900 only 9 people have been born with this last name! One day I did a search on Facebook and actually found a group setup for people with this name. I was able to show her how to get in touch with cousins etc and with other people trying to find information on their family history.
    I also try to check the familty trees on ancestry every few months, because you never know who will start their tree that is connected to yours :)

    Keep Smilin

  2. I'm another true believer in cluster research and, in many cases, descendancy research. I have been working on tracing as many descendants as I can for all my known gg-grandparents (one pair of gg-grandparents is still unknown) as well as a ggg-grandparent or two. Of course, there are limits (especially when there are tons of descendants), but at least I like to know the general outlines of the main descending lines. It has helped a lot. I have enjoyed reading how you are using this to learn more about your ancestors.

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