19 Feb 2014
I never thought I'd hear myself say this, but thank goodness for Facebook. It may have no content whatsoever but it does glue people together in all sorts of interesting ways.
It really doesn't much matter if your security settings are set to (what you think is) maximum, chances are you profile pictures at least are shown to everyone. And if you're female, one of your friends is very likely to have commented on it.
Plus about two-thirds of people show who all their Friends are anyway. I have lately been using Facebook to help find members of highly mobile families who just aren't in the same place for long. Or whose street addresses change more than their email address.
I had a target-list of several branches of mine that have disappeared from touch any time in the last 50+ years:
* the Rev'd L S Creed of Cape Town
* Mr F B Lowry of Durban (both uncles of my Granny)
* the Busherts of Rock Island
* the Eichenbergers of Glen Ellyn (both in Illinois descendants of my Ansford Felthams)
and of course the Haine family of northern Natal
Facebook came through with all of them. I picked the most unusual names in the tree and hoped to find them - in some cases I was going back to when my uncle was in Botswana and captured the details from back then, 40 years ago. I found the people I hoped to find, in Canada, and in S. Africa.
I was particularly keen to find Mandy, born 1959 in northern Natal, and she appeared as if by magic. I was searching through all the Haine's were listed as from Africa, and one family stuck out - listed as a friend for one whose friends were public was Mandy, clearly an aunt, living in Alaska. When I checked her middle name, that was a match, her maiden name also popped up on another site, the year of birth matched, and the place of study in Natal. I plan to send a letter in the post - the old-fashioned way.
Not a bad result at all. I should have done this years ago - but had resisted as it felt far too close to spying on people. I plan to keep this for overseas relatives where the options for finding them are more limited.