Monday, April 14, 2008

Stumbling Over my Tree

I had very little information to work with when I first began tracing my roots:  my father was adopted and the only thing I knew about my mother's heritage was that her mother was named Rosella Fjeld, her father was Joe Nussberger, and her grandmother was Nellie Butterfield.  At the time, I had no access to any family photos or records.  My mother had talked often about a place called "Nelson," where my grandmother's family lived.  My grandmother had died a few years before I was born, Nellie Butterfield was long dead, and my grandfather had died when I was a teenager.  So talking to these people was not an option.

 

I had only childhood stories my mother had told to rely upon in my research.  No written information, no family bible.  I did have one advantage over those who came before me, however.  Google.  I had Google.

 

The universe must have been on my side, too, for when I typed "Rosella Fjeld" into the Google search engine, I hit the family mother load.  A researcher named Gary Zentz had uploaded a GEDCOM to the web that included Rosella Fjeld's family tree, as it linked to his family tree.

Link to the Gary Zentz Web Site

 

To be honest, I was, at the time, not actually looking for a family tree.  I was not looking for anything at all, literally.  I simply wanted to see what would happen if I typed my deceased grandmother's name into Google's search engine - a woman who had died 31 years BG.

 

Plenty happened.  If it hadn't, I wouldn't be writing this post.

 

image

Screen shot of my Rosella Fjeld search

OMG!  OMG!  OMG! was all I could say when I found this web site.  The "Oh my gods" would repeat as I clicked through the links and found my name and my siblings' names in the tree.  At this point, my mother, who was visiting, had to come to the kitchen table, where I was sitting with my laptop, and say, with not a little irritation, "What are you doing?"

 

I showed her.  "Oh my god!" she said.  I didn't know whether to jump for joy or freak out.  I was leaning towards freaking out.  My name is posted all over the Internet... identity theft! identity theft!  Time to let the coolness sink into my brain....  When I finally calmed down, I looked at the entry for Qywyntyna again and realized there was nothing there but a name.  No birth data, no ssn, nothing an identity thief could use.  Nothing but my mother's maiden name, but you had to be looking for it.

 

Then I noticed something - Rosella Fjeld was listed as having married a man named Noble, who was also listed as my mother's father.

 

Joe was not my grandfather...

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