Thursday, October 21, 2010

Breaking through Brick Walls Part 6: Descendancy Research

Finding Current Descendants Part II

I am told quite often I am “lucky” when it comes to finding long lost cousins and those we do not know existed. Luck is not part of my life, I feel it comes from doing some good detective work and like anything else takes know how and practice. In genealogy we always start from what we know and that is what I have done. With finding both my THENNES and MAKOSKY cousins I started with what I knew; the surname and the hometown.

I had searched for the MAKOSKY’S before but could not find them on Facebook. I started with my four cousin’s names and they are not on Facebook, but one of the wives are. Did I know their wives names? No, but I was able to piece information together to find what I needed to find them.

The first place I went to was Zabasearch is not a database but a search engine that goes out looking for public record and compiles them into a list for you that may give you some additional info for your research. Not all the time, but sometimes it will list:

1. Middle initial

2. Birth month and year

3. Previous known addresses

4. Date of compiled report

When I looked for my cousins, I found three of the four here with middle initials. I knew approximate years and ages, but nothing exact until this info. Finding Jimmy with his middle initial was crucial for being able to find the right MAKOSKY.

With this information I then went to White pages are a more recent list of where people are and can also give you more information on the people. Here I found wives names and for Jimmy was able to verify it was the right one I was searching for because part of the household also listed his parents. A cool side note here, if you are searching on a nickname such as Jim but the person is listed as James, Whitepages is smart enough to detect that and search for the combination of Jim’s.

So from this simple detective work, I took this information back to Facebook, typed in MAKOSKY and 170 popped up. I had the names of the wives and on the second page there was Jimmy’s wife. I instantly emailed her and received a reply and now we are connected.

So is Facebook a Good Thing or Bad Thing? In many, many ways it is a good thing. It is a great tool to help people re-connect and stay connected from far away. The downside for me and so many others, just like genealogy it can become addicting. If you do not have a Facebook page due to worry about privacy issues, then don’t post your private information! I will be interested to see how many of you decide to connect with Facebook, or maybe already are and have found long lost cousins. I know I am not the only one!!!

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