I was contacted late last week by a lady who came upon my family history website while searching for the person who had been a big brother to her younger brother, through the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program, back in the late 1980s. The name of a distant relative happened to be the same name as the person she was searching for, and she wondered if it might happen to be the same person. This distant relative had passed away on January 1, 1990.
As she conveyed to me “I recall Douglas was very generous with my brother. One beautiful offering to my brother was a bicycle at Christmastime. There was so much more than material things that he gave me brother. Without someone like Douglas in my brother’s life, my brother would never have reached his highest achievements, of which he has today. I hope this is the same person, so that my brother can give thanks to he and/or his family (members). My brother only mentioned this brother to me last week and I began the search. My brother had tried to search for his big brother, to no avail. I hope to surprise him with good news.”
Fortunately, I happen to do some volunteer work each Friday with the aunt of this distant relative, and he was the son of her husband’s brother. While discussing this with her, I was reminded that this distant relative’s sister had happened to find my website a couple years ago, while doing some family history research of her own, and we had exchanged a few emails at that time. Yesterday, I was able to make contact with the sister, after an initial failed attempt due to a changed email address in the intervening years. It turns out this distant relative was indeed the same Douglas that had been the big brother to this thirteen year old boy all those years ago. Douglas’ sister let me know she was happy to reply to the lady who had contacted me, and in her reply shared more about the wonderful person her brother was, and all the lives he touched before his passing. The lady who initially contacted me, as well as her brother, have both been very touched by the sister’s reply, and in turn shared how thankful they are to be able to make contact with a family member of Douglas and relay to his family the story of the difference Douglas made in this young boy’s life.
How very humbling that they were able to make this connection through the family history information I posted to my site. No greater justification for having a family history website, and sharing one’s family history with others, is needed than this very touching story they’ve been kind enough to share.