Thursday, June 9, 2011

Ancestry's Member Connect - Thankful Thursday

I have already touted how much I like Ancestry's Member Connect Activity section on their homepage, but today I write with especial thanks because it led me to a genealogical gold mine! Yes, you heard it: I found a photo of a nineteenth-century ancestor. Photos are no doubt the gold, the oasis, the mecca, the what-have-you for genealogists and I found one!

It all started when I hopped on to Ancestry a couple of days ago to look up something on my family tree. When on the homepage I always glance through the Member Connect Activity section to see if anyone has added information to my lines that may be new to me. On this particular day I noted that someone was adding information to my Butler line. I have written quite a bit about William Moulton Butler, an ancestor that has been exciting to track (you can read more about my adventures here). Needless to say, I was intrigued to find that someone else was researching this line. So I checked their family tree and found a really nice photo of one of William's grandsons, William Moulton Butler III. It was great...and I wanted it. Rather than just take it, I opted to write the owner and ask if I could have it. It never hurts to write and see what else someone might have.

Did I ever hit the jackpot by doing so! Soon after I wrote I got a return message from Kevin, a cousin. He told me I could have the photo and that he had some additional information that he would email me. Moments later I received an email with scanned pages from his grandmother's genealogy files. It included a genealogy report (which included me!) and...

William Moulton Butler, 1824-1895
Yep, that's a photo of William Moulton Butler. I say again...JACKPOT! I have wondered what he looked like for so long and one simple email got me there. I have learned two lessons from this experience. 1. It never hurts to ask and 2. Always keep an eye on Member Connect!


Greta Koehl said...

I check into Ancestry almost daily for that very reason. And I love the fact that your good manners (actually asking before you download something) paid off! Glad you had such good fortune - cousins are great!

zelsersk said...

Photos are the best....I've been adding photos on my tree when I come across them and borrow them with "Thanks" from others when they are posted online. A photo is worth a thousand words.

Anonymous said...

I love to put a face to the name and the statistics. When you research a line for so's almost like you know the person, and to find a photo is just the icing on the cake. I recently was lucky enough to also find a wonderful photo through the ancestry connect feature. When I first saw it I almost fell right out of my chair. I have basically given up hope that there was anybody else out there even interested in this family line. I also emailed the man....and he had about 10 more photographs that he sent to me. The internet - it's a wonderful thing !