Almost twenty-five years ago, I started work on a family history based on the investigations that my Jackson cousins Ursula (Macmillan) and Diane (Gumes) had begun. In 2011, I began looking into my maternal side of the family. Although we were all familiar with her paternal family tree, there had never been any questions or investigation of her mothers family.
Nana Price, who died when I was eight, had always told my mother and her mother that her family business was just that; HER family business. After signing in to ancestry.com and adding Nana to my tree, I asked my mother where Nana had been born and her maiden name. I entered Canada, the name Amelia Lucas and an approximate date of birth; almost immediately the little green leaf that Ancestry is so proud of popped up.
As a matter of practice when using Ancestry.com I generally ignore the Ancestry Member Family Trees. During the course of my earlier research of the Jackson family, I found that too many users do not fact check and end up related to George Washington or Wiliam the Conquerer instead of their real family members, Benedict Arnold or Ethelred the Fat. I did take note of the Family Tree owner, but otherwise ignored the hint. When I had explored all the US records that pertained to my great -grand mother and corroborated what I knew about her, I questioned my mother again.
“Did Nana Price have any brother or sisters.?”
Yes,” my mother replied, “you remember Aunt Karen, don’t you?”
“Oh yeah, I answered. “I didn’t know she was Nana sister.”
“They had an argument and weren’t speaking long before Nana died.”
“Was she older or younger?”
“I think she was older, but I’m not sure.”
Back on the computer I entered Aunt Karen’s name as one of Amelia’s siblings. Again, up came the little hints leaf and with it Karen’s factual information; census data, marriage certificate and US City Directories. With the confirmation of their parents names and place of birth from marriage records I was able to add their parents names, Levi Lucas and Lavinia Jackson of Nova Scotia to the tree. Again one of the hints was an Ancestry Member Family Tree. The owner was the same, so this time I took a look.