The internet is a wonderful thing for family historians as it enables us to find out what happened to people who left Yorkshire for a new life. I know it has to be used with caution and I sometimes despair of family trees where children of maybe 10 years old are listed as parents just because their name is right!
But on the whole it works well. I have recently been looking at two families who emigrated to Ontario. The first family was from near Holme on Spalding Moor. George Fowler emigrated with his brother in the 1870s. His father, also George, appeared with the family in 1851 but then disappeared. Young George in 1861 was living with his grandparents, Thomas and Hannah near Welham Bridge. His two brothers were with their mother in Howden workhouse,
Searching in the East Riding archives told us that George senior had deserted his family and 'gone to America'. After many hours and with the help of the Familysearch site all was revealed. All three of George senior's sons had emigrated and although there are still some gaps to fill in [did he marry again in Canada? what happened to his wife and daughter?] we found that George and his three sons were obviously in touch and in fact George was living with his youngest son in 1911.
As ever it makes you wish that some of the many letters which passed between emigrants and their families at home in Yorkshire had survived - but they did not know that many years later we would all be fascinated by family history.
The other family I was looking at was Thomas Bristow who married Elizabeth Bullass and lived in Reedness near Whitgift. The problem here too is what happened to Thomas. Two of his sons, William and George, emigrated. Elizabeth spent some time in Goole workhouse and later says she is a widow. When and where did Thomas die?
I receive many queries through my website about family history and always have a look in my own resources to see if I can help. If it is a simple query and I can I normally send the information straight back. If it is a query that would involve my spending some hours researching I make a charge.
In every case I reply. My appeal to all family historians is that if you contact someone with a query and they reply to you, then please thank them. Most people do - I often spend an hour or more looking at a family and then send back information or suggestions as to what sources might be useful. I am sure other family historians do the same.
The internet is a wonderful thing but remember the people who reply to your queries are often not in a remote office but, like me, sitting at a computer in my kitchen watched by a dog that wants a walk and surrounded by a heap of ironing and other jobs that need doing.