Recently I have been looking in-depth at my father’s maternal side of the family tree of Oakes and the names associated with it. As I know so little about the people apart from my great-grandfather Thomas originally came from Kings Lynn, Norfolk, England. As a theatre musician he travelled around and that is how my line ended up in the North West of England. So I really wanted to see if there were any living relatives still in Norfolk that are connected through the surname Oakes.
Before Christmas I joined a Facebook group looking at family history in and around Kings Lynn. So I decided to post a message about looking to find living relatives and see if I could connect with anyone in the area. Eventually I got a response from a woman that in her tree she had the same 4th great grandparents as what I had stated in my message. In conversing I knew we were related as our 3rd great grandfathers were brothers. Myself from the younger and her from the older, the brothers were one of many siblings.
In further talks we started sharing photographs over email and something astonished me in a fabulous way, one photograph was a group of people (all distantly related to me). This particular photo made me double look as there was a boy in this who looked the double of my dad when he was a child. So I had to show the picture to my dad and he was just as amazed at the likeness to him as a child also.
For me it showed the real power of genetics and DNA. It opened up my eyes to what my ancestors could have looked like with the similar features all the distant cousins had, such as nose shape, cheeks prominent, face shape and many other things. All show how we can picture our ancestors from looking at those in the present, as it shows what has passed through generation by generation.
It taught me to send a message out on a group as you never know what response you will get back. As well as how genetics can define a family group and how DNA has passed through generation by generation. It was certainly and eye opener, so don’t take old photographs for granted!