How Facebook uncovered one family’s long-lost history
WHEN Julieanne Richards began the search for her father's family history almost 20 years ago, she never dreamt a Facebook page would hold the key to her biggest discoveries.
Living in Rockhampton since her parents' separation during childhood, Mrs Richards was on a quest to uncover more information about her father, who died suddenly in 1983 when she was just 11 years old.
After years of searching on her own and continually hitting dead ends, Mrs Richards decided to take a chance on the "Lost Faces of Warwick" group to trace her family roots back to her Stanthorpe birthplace.
"I messaged one group member to look into any family with the surname Richards, and she got back to me the next day with electoral rolls, addresses, and other information," Mrs Richards said.
"That information connected with my mum's name, so I knew then we were on the right track, that we had definitely found my dad.
"Through those posts, I have been in contact with family of Dad's such as his nephews, my cousins and his grandchildren too, and they've all come forward to share information and photos of Dad with me."
Mrs Richards said it wasn't until she had a family of her own, and her childhood memories of her father began to fade, that she started the search for her family history in earnest.
"I think it was getting older in age, and I wanted my children to have something for themselves to look back on and know where they came from, on my dad's side," Mrs Richards said.
"It brings a bit of closure to me now, even though Dad passed away so many years ago, and it brings me closer to him in a way.
"I probably would have gone to my grave with only those little memories - but now, I have closure for myself, my children, my grandchildren, and they can carry that on themselves."
Lost Faces of Warwick group administrator David Owens shared his congratulations with Mrs Richards on one of her posts.
"Oh, I am so happy for you. It's very rewarding knowing that the page is bringing people like yourself in contact with family and friends," Mr Owens said.