For years I have been working in a vacuum researching the family history of François and Frederique ROPP who came to America in April of 1893, landing in New York with a final destination of Worcester, MA. I found this information on a ship manifest at www.ellisisland.org and subsequently traced some of their steps in MA after their arrival. But so much of the story was missing, and although I'm only a few hours away in Maine, I have not been able to spend the time or money to order records or take a trip to the Worcester area to do much research. Having spent a lot of time looking for information online and not getting very far, my focus on this family had dwindled considerably over the last couple of years.
Then, a few weeks ago I presented a program to our local genealogical society on the power of Social Networking sites when used to accelerate your genealogical research. After the presentation one of the members offered to help me with a different brick wall that has also plaqued me for some time, and within a few days she had solved that mystery. That quick win got me to thinking about my ROPP family again, and I picked up the search.
I took my own advice and looked towords the social networking aspects of many genealogy sites. In no time at all I came across a post on a message board from 3 years ago by someone who appeared to be searching for information about the same family. I took a chance and emailed the email address associated with the post, and soon received a response, "Yes, this is the person you are looking for."
We started sharing little bits of information and then he told me he had actually been in contact with another distant cousin some time ago and would try to reconnect with them as well. Within a few days the 3 of us were sharing the little bits about our branches of the tree that we knew and the puzzle has started coming together. Just yesterday, one of these 2 men said they ran across another post online from someone who they believe we may also be related to and lo' and behold we have a 4th distant cousin.
Thanks to social networking (both online and "old fashioned") there is now a network of 4 of us researching branches of the same family tree and able to help one another fill in the gaps. My hope for this blog is to help us work together to get a better understanding of this family and how they survived and grew after coming to America and possible even trace them back to their homeland.
Shortly thereafter, I connected with a distant cousin through a post they made on Ancestry.com years ago. They in turn told me they had also been in contact with another cousin some time back but had lost touch... Those 2 cousins reconnected and the three of us began sharing information about our branches of the family. Yesterday