Anyway, I started to create a public family tree on Ancestry dot com - cousin bait - with the information inscribed upon the mysterious tree. As a rule I keep the Ancestry Member Tree Hints turned off, but I do like to manually check them from time to time. This was one of those times.
Glad I did!!!
Found a fully built Public Tree called the Frasers of Fife with all the exact same people as my tree!
Of course I contacted the tree owner immediately. (His initials are A.F. - same as mine!) And learned rather quickly that he too had in his possession a framed, hand inked John Fraser 1880 family tree.
He is located in the UK and was equally as thrilled to learn of another tree .... in the States no less! He promised to send photos the following weekend.
And he did.
|My tree on the left ~ A.F.'s tree on the right|
His has withstood the test of time better than mine (probably wasn't tucked behind a furnace) and we are able to share bits from one another's tree where the shellac has cracked. As expected, my Irons branch (the most important branch to me) is badly worn, his is pristine! I am now able to fill in a few missing parts.
A.F. suspects that there are other trees out there. I know of one other, but have not been able to contact the owner. I came across a post from 1999 by a Polly Hamilton to RootsWeb. She had in her possession a Tree and was trying to make contact with other family members. As the post was soooooo old, the email address is no longer valid. She does have a profile on Ancestry, but I have been unsuccessful in making contact.
I will continue to add to my own public tree on Ancestry, and have also begun to document every person on the tree through short blog posts. Cousin Bait!
Here's to hoping I am successful at flushing out other Tree owners!
By the way, A.F. and I are 5th cousins, by his calculations .....