It has recently come to my attention that finding information about my family tree is now easy and affordable. For the longest time I assumed that I would have to jump through hoops to learn anything about my ancestry.
Now with Public Family Tree I’m finding things I never thought possible! For example, I’ve learnt some amazing new details about my great uncle Harry Lefferty on my father’s side, whom we lost track of in the late sixties.
The last thing my dad had heard about Harry was that he had left the civilized world behind and gone into the woods to lead the life of a hermit. This was around the year 1968. We had always been under the impression he’d simply vanished into the wilderness then, lost to us forever.
My dad’s family attempted to locate Harry on many occasions, but never could pick up a trail, or at least the right trail. It was evident after a while that Harry did not want to be found, and he seemed to always know when we were close.
So, after many years of trying and failing, my family simply gave up on Harry, and pretty much wrote him off for dead, an integral piece of our family tree, vanishing into thin air.
That is, until I decided to dig a little deeper. It occurred to me, sometime ago, that though Harry went off into the woods to lead the life of a recluse, it was not entirely impossible that he wouldn’t have met a woman during those backwoods adventures, and even had a family!
I knew that the only way for me to potentially track down this man wrapped in an enigma, was to maybe by chance stumble upon some family records, a new family that no one until now had known about. So I went online and lo and behold, found this family tree site.
I knew the cities and towns around where he had disappeared were in the south of Alabama, namely in and around the counties of Mobile, Washington and Baldwin. The searching capabilities were quite advanced on this on-line family tree archive, allowing me to search by state and county.
So off I went, looking for a needle in an enormous haystack. Still, it was a worth a shot, and I had nothing to lose. The name Lefferty turned out to be less common than I imagined though, at least in these counties. 10 names popped up in Mobile, 5 in Baldwin and none in Washington county.
I picked up the trail in Mobile, 2 children born in 74′ and 77′ respectively, along with a woman changing her name to Lefferty in 81′. If Harry had been trying to hide the location of his whereabouts in the beginning, he must have assumed we had given up on him (and we had) by 1981.
Well Harry hadn’t imagined the power of technology and public family tree sites, because I found one of his sons! Dexter Lefferty lives somewhere in Mobile, Alabama, and I plan on finding him, hopefully forever unraveling the mystery of my uncle Harry.
I hope this story is an inspiration to you, and that you never lose faith in completing your family tree.