I was shocked to learn over the weekend of the death last month of my 3rd cousin, Michelle Gilliver-Smith. at the age of 55. Michelle was one of the first genealogists with whom I collaborated in snail mail days. We reconnected through DNA in 2017.
I had learnt of Michelle's death via the Facebook page of the Tomaree Family History Group Nelson Bay Inc. where Michelle, a longterm member, had been responsible for the website and newsletter.
By putting her name into a Google search I found Michelle's death notice online and copied the details into my genealogy software. While at Google I found more mentions of Michelle including a comprehensive work, education and volunteering history she had entered on her LinkedIn Page, I made a note of this information. Michelle also had a summary of her career posted on a Wix site she had created. The LG Professionals page had a page long profile of Michelle in which she talked about her interest in Genealogy.
I looked at my DNA matches on Airtable where I record matches of kits I manage, I could see that Michelle had first tested with FTDNA and uploaded those results to Gedmatch, she later tested with Ancestry. On each of these sites Michelle had uploaded comprehensive family trees. Michelle was also a contributor to the Familysearch Family Tree. Geni.com and Wikitree.
Michelle was active on social media with accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. My Google search returned a comment from Michelle to Princess Cruises telling them how much she enjoyed her cruise on Diamond Princess in 2013! Also on the Google search I learnt of Michelle's donations to charity, found a couple of photos of her and some journal articles she had written.
Michelle who died at a relatively young age has, because of her commitment to her family history and use of online resources and social media sites, left a valuable footprint for future generations of our family to discover her story. As this blog is preserved in the Australian Web Archive on Trove (where there are already several mentions of Michelle) I have written this post to add to that footprint.
How's your Footprint?