I thought you might like this story.
Discovering My Internet Cousins
For several years I have been a member of the Peterhead Group on the
internet, which provides a forum for people who are interested in
sharing information on family connections in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire,
Scotland. The web site is run by Wade Buchan in Australia, who has a
great collection of historical and statistical information about people
from Peterhead. I have had some help from Wade and others on this web
site, in finding information about my Leslie ancestors from Peterhead.
I have accumulated a considerable amount of information for my family
tree from various sources, including certificates from the Scottish
Records Office, through Scots Origins on the internet. My present
success reaches to my great great grandfather James Leslie and great
grandmother Elizabeth Simpson. I have little information about the next
generation of Leslies, James' father, my great great great grandfather,
John Leslie. James Leslie's birth record, from the Old Parish Records,
shows John Leslie as father, and notes that he was a Crofter (Farmer)
Longside, a village outside Peterhead.
In March of this year, someone on the Peterhead web site was
researching ships from Peterhead, and their crews, The name of James
was listed by someone looking up seamen for another member. I noted
that this James Rankin was my great grandfather on my grandmother's
side, and posted a message noting that, and asking if anyone had any
information on John Leslie from Longside. I received an answer from
Sylvia Cowe Nascimben of Williamsville, NY, indicating that James Rankin
was her great grandfather also. Sylvia and I started to communicate,
and eventually to share family trees.
Sylvia's parents came to Niagara Falls, NY in 1930, and have lived in
the Niagara area ever since. Sylvia and her brothers and sisters, with
exception of one sister who lives in Scotland, have lived in the Niagara
area on both sides of the border most of their lives. Many of my family
has lived in Southern Ontario since emigrating here in 1951. We had
never heard of one another until March of this year, and still would be
ignorant of one another except for a love of family history, and the
magic of the internet. My Aunt Jina in Minneapolis admits to knowing
there were Rankin relatives somewhere in North America, but did not know
exactly where they were.
Sylvia and I exchanged family information, and by using the same Family
Tree program, were able to expand our family trees considerably and
add a whole group of new cousins.
On Saturday June 9, 2001, My wife Sue, my sister Margaret and her
husband, Ben, drove down to Williamsville, NY to meet Sylvia and her
family. The distance between us was about 190 miles, less for my sister
who lives nearer Toronto. Sylvia's mother Netta Rankin Cowe, who
came from Peterhead about 70 years ago was there, and delighted us with
memories of Peterhead. She is a remarkable lady who reminds me of
my Scottish aunts, and still speaks with a distinct Scottish accent.
Sylvia invited several of her family, and her sisters and their husbands
from both sides of the border. All of a sudden, after 50 years, we had
several cousins within visiting distance. Sylvia served a delicious
we traded stories about ancestors, looked at old photographs, and said
our good byes, promising to meet again soon. Sylvia and I have both
taken photographs of our Rankin great grandparents' monument in the
Peterhead cemetery. This monument was vandalized some time ago, and
many of the pieces still lie on the ground. Sylvia, Margaret and I are
committed, with the help of Peterhead relatives, to getting this
Sue and I who had a 380 mile round trip, were home in time for supper.
Thanks to the internet. Now, if only some relatives of my great great
great grandfather John Leslie would surface, I could complete my Leslie
June 14, 2001