A Norwegian journalist and author, who is writing a book on settlements of Norwegians in America, visited Salt Lake City in October 2010. He was particularly interested in visiting with individuals who were descendants of Norwegians who joined the Mormon Church in Norway and then immigrated to Utah after World War II.
In an effort to accommodate his needs, I began research to locate any descendants of three sisters who immigrated to Utah about 1948. I found an online obituary of one of the sisters who never married. Another sister married a man (first name unknown) with a very common surname, so it was quite impossible to locate any of her descendants. However, the third sister married another Norwegian with a more unusual surname. The Social Security Death Index showed that the husband died in 1987, and the wife died in 2001 in Utah. No obituaries were found for either of them.
Checking the online phone directory, http://www.dexknows.com/ for the unusual surname, I found a listing in the Sponsored Links section of a woman age 60 years and also a young lady age 35 years with the same surname. It appeared they were likely mother and daughter. The young daughter could be a granddaughter of the older deceased couple because her middle name was the same name as her grandmother’s first name. Localities were listed where the apparent mother and granddaughter lived or had lived–Salt Lake City and Denver. But there were no phone numbers for either of them in any of the three online phone directories I checked–http://www.dexknows.com/ and http://www.switchboard.com/ and http://www.whitepages.com/
I decided to search Facebook for the granddaughter and found her there with 500 friends! I “friended” her and sent her a message. She did accept me as a friend, but, as can be expected, she was very suspicious at first and, in fact, not too cordial. However, I replied to her with more details about this Norwegian writer’s project, and kindly asked if there were any other relatives he could interview so as not to bother her. She then replied that her mother would be the best person to be interviewed because she knew all three sisters.
The granddaughter talked with her mother, who was living with her in Denver, and her mother agreed that she would meet with the Norwegian writer. Ironically, he was scheduled to visit Denver after leaving Salt Lake City. The interview with the mother took place in Denver, and they had a nice conversation regarding her older parents and also the other two sisters who had immigrated to Utah. The connection had been made with the only descendant I found of the three sisters who left Norway for Utah.
I definitely think social media is an aspect of descendancy research which cannot be overlooked! Contacts can be made through social media which otherwise would not be possible.