Alan J.L. MacLeod
LIVING RELATIVE RESEARCH
▲Visit the genealogy professional website at http://www.ajmacleod.co.uk
"And Some Stayed At Home"
by Alan J.L. MacLeod,
Most genealogy research is concentrated on the history of the family
i.e. the ancestors - but little thought is given to looking in the other
direction - towards their descendants. It should be remembered that,
although many ancestors left Scotland, many did not, and, frequently,
the descendants of those who stayed at home can be found.
In my work as a Genealogist, I find that identifying a living relative of
an individual who left Scotland many years ago can have two main
advantages. Firstly, there is the human aspect. Obviously, many people
would relish being united with their family in Scotland but there is
another consideration which is not so apparent. Remember that those
present day family members may be able to supply information about
early generations which cannot be found, by conventional means, in
the records. This may come from family knowledge or lore, a Bible or
old documents and letters (and, sometimes, photographs) held by
present day family members living in Scotland. It is true that only a small
clue can lead to breakng through that apparently insuperable "brick wall"
which so many people encounter. When that has been achieved the
opportunites for new, more widespread and exciting research can be
I know, from more than twenty years as a professional Genealogist, that
a successful living relative search can be a most rewarding exercise. There
are many examples of new and close relationships having been formed
by bringing together the descendants of the emigrants and the descendants
of those who remained in Scotland. As a result, many travel between the
countries of emigration (Australia, New Zealand, the United States and
Canada) and Scotland to meet their new found "cousins". In one case, a
family was reunited after 150 years without contact.
Living relative research can be slower than conventional ancestry research
because one is working "against the tide". This means that many lines are
found to be unfruitful and it becomes necessary to back track and follow
another line. However, the results can be well worth the additional effort. I
urge all those who are dedicated to the research of their family to consider
a living relative search in Scotland. The family research cannot be complete
without doing so.
Alan J.L. MacLeod,
51/3 Morotnhall Road,
Edinburgh EH9 2HN,
Tel. and Fax: 0131 667 0437
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