The short story of WikiTree and the two Pinnochio's ...

+36 votes

My maternal grandmother's sister, her husband and her two children, together with the 13 year old brother of my mother, was involved in a severe car accident caused by a drunk driver in 1965. Only my grandmother's sister survived this accident.

I was two at the time. I can remember all three children vividly. Though too young to be able to grasp the pain and trauma to everybody involved, this accident and the senseless loss of lives reverberated not only in my direct family for many years to come, but also in those families of my cousins (twice, thrice) removed.

I inherited one of the toys of one of the children: a big Pinocchio:
Pinnokio that belonged to Rufus and Hanlie Palm
Unbeknownst by me, there was another identical Pinnochio, given to one of the Palm's nieces.

After joining WikiTree a short while ago we got the message that a new WikiTreer saw this picture on this profile and "... nearly fell off" her chair - her older sister had been given the same Pinnochio ...

So we started corresponding, exchanging memories about our visits to Auntie "Kola's" house - remembering the imprints of the children's hands and their names written in the cement, the ice cream that was given in the kitchen .... warm loving memories.

The cousins are now spread all over the world, and I was relieved to at last find a good home for him (I considered selling him on Ebay but because of the provenance was reluctant to let him go to strangers) - from South Africa to the Netherlands and now on it's way all bubble-wrapped to Melbourne Australia ...

WikiTree .... is awesome ... !

WikiTree profile: Rufus Palm
in The Tree House by Philip van der Walt G2G6 Pilot (150k points)
edited by Philip van der Walt
Nice story!
wow... yes it is a small world.  Thank you for sharing a tragic story that had a pleasant outcome.

Such a nice story to read first thing this morning.  Put a smile on my face for the whole day.  So glad you were able to reconnect with your family.
Thank you so much for sharing this, Philip.
The wonder of the connectivity of the Internet.  Thanks for telling us this endearing tragic/endearing story in the cafĂ© in Amsterdam while so graciously showing us the town.  Deep memories.

2 Answers

+17 votes
This story reflects all that is great about wikitree and the genealogists that support the concept!!  I think your story could easily be a wonderful feel-good story to pass along to others as we're approaching the seasons of kindness as I call November - June.  What a great way to introduce non users to the wikitree experience!  Would you consider letting your story be shared?
by Cynthia Rushing G2G6 Mach 3 (32.8k points)
Thanks Cynthia! Sure, as long as the privacy of the new still living cousins is protected.
+13 votes
A wonderful story Philip, and indeed WikiTree really is awesome. I also came in contact trough Wikitree with family members I didn't even know I had as well, and it's really awesome to discover they have pictures or stories or other things we never saw  or knew before but were saved or told all those years by their families/ancestors and now are shared here at WIkiTree ...that's one of the greatest things of our worldwide tree I think that makes it the best and so worthwhile  :D
by Bea Wijma G2G6 Pilot (275k points)

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