Sunday, May 13, 2012

Family research can be exhausting and emotional

Image of sinking ship from microsoft.

THE death and devastation from war has been top of mind this autumn with a throng of Redlanders to Anzac Day services.
Pain and suffering from war runs through society, scarring the lives of innocent families far from the battlefields.
Theresa Meaclem, of Alexandra Hills, told this story:

"My grandfather, William Strunks, was the captain of a cargo ship and was killed when it was sunk by a German torpedo during World War II.
"My mother, Winifred, was only two years old.
"The wartime widows often became distanced from their families and after grandad's death my grandmother moved from Ireland to England and Australia.
"My mum didn't know anyone in her parents' families.
"I started some family research to find these people, and it was a very emotional experience, especially for Mum. It brought tears to her eyes to realise she had such a big family.
"With the help of the internet I managed to find 180 relatives she never knew she had."

THE experience prompted Theresa to offer help in family research. She has called her service AncestorLink.
Theresa says her fledgling enterprise has already had some appreciative clients in its first few weeks.
She tutors people on the family research websites and does the research for those who are uncomfortable using keyboard and screen.
The work can be exhausting because of the attention to the detail and the underlying emotions, she says
"I was able to find 60 to 70 members of the one generation of an elderly lady's family dating from 1836 in Wales," Theresa says.
"One of the special results was that I located one of her elder sisters who had all the family photos so now she has copies of the pictures that she didn't know about."

AS part of the AncestorLink package, Theresa creates audio-visual presentations on CDs.
The Meaclem family is new to Alexandra Hills. Theresa, her husband Ross and two of their four sons have just moved from Hervey Bay where they had a farm growing sea cucumbers.
Theresa says she and Ross were Australian pioneers of the sea cucumber trade. "We were virtually the only growers in Australia until about five years ago."
She says the sea cucumber is in big demand and the market "can't get enough of them" but she and Ross decided on a "sea change".
"We were on the farm for 20 years and felt like it was the right time to do something different so we sold the property and decided to check out life in the city," she says. While Theresa is at the computer, Ross is working as a handyman.

Thanks for joining me in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times.

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