Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Facebook and Family History

This week, I felt a little stuck in my research on my Czech ancestors. I have been checking the message boards at Ancestry.com and I made some connections with people who have similar surnames in their trees, but I just couldn't figure out any really solid links.

Early Sunday morning as Jon was leaving to go to a 7am church meeting, the thought came to me: check on Facebook. I thought it was kind of weird because I usually don't associate Facebook with doing my family history. But I have learned that when you hear that little whisper, you do what it says.

I started looking up the surname Jurasek, and I found that there are quite a few people with that surname living in Michigan, where my line ended up. I sent off a message to a friendly looking U of M alumna, and she wrote back! She is also not sure about how we might be connected, but her father has done some research and she is willing to send it to me.

The miracle was when I was looking at the group "Hey I'm a Tomecek" and found a man with that same surname, who comes from Vnorovy - where my Tomecek ancestors are from! I sent a message to him as well, and he wrote back, too! Not only is he a Tomecek from the same village, but he is into genealogy, has several of the same surnames in his family tree, speaks impeccable English, AND is really nice and helpful. I could not have dreamed up a better connection. In order to me to figure out how we are related, though, I will essentially have to pay a professional researcher to go to the regional and local archives to do research for me. Something tells me that I won't be able to decipher Czech, Latin, and old German records, even if I can scrounge up the money to get there.

So, as it turns out, Facebook is a pretty awesome tool for doing family history research. You just may find a distant cousin from the "old country."


Jessica said...

That is awesome! When I first joined facebook I typed in the name "grondel" and there was only one other person at the time with the same name. He lives in South Africa! and his ancestors also came from Holland! Crazy. I love it.

As Sistas In Zion said...

Great tip, never even thought of using facebook for genealogy.

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog by googling Jurasek. LOL I am having a heck of a time with mine as well. And the language issue is a drag.

Good tip, I did not think of using facebook.

Anonymous said...

You may already know this but just FYI. I recently discovered that the Surname Jurasek comes from a Slav cognate of a word meaning farmer and earth, to work, till.

So Jurasek families were most likely peasants ages ago.

Mine owned groves.