In my genealogy business, I search for information on ancestors all over the world. However, I cannot travel all over the world in search of the records! There are times that I have needed to make contact with a “local” person – someone actually living in the local of the ancestor’s residence.

I would like to relate one of these experiences.

I was researching my husband’s mother’s father – he came to the U. S. from Germany in the 1880’s. I had some letters written from Germany to his family, and the location of the writer was included in the letter. I looked on a modern-day map of Germany, and none of the locations were listed! The names had all changed over time. So, I contacted (via a message board) someone living in the probable area of Germany. I asked this person if he had access or knew where to get access to older maps of Germany. He lived very close to a library, and offered to look for the locations on older maps.

I waited and waited, and did not hear from the person. I thought that I was never going to hear! And then, one day, an email arrived. Attached were hand-drawn maps – he had drawn them himself!! He had the “old” name and the “new” name of each place about which I had asked! The reason he had taken so long was that he had drawn the maps himself!! He said he didn’t want to charge me for copies and postage, so he decided to draw them himself. He was an illustrator who lived in the same area as the ancestors!

So, don’t hesitate to contact someone in your ancestor’s area – you may be surprised what you can find out!

Maggie

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