About 16 years ago or thereabouts, I discovered a small hand-drawn family tree among my mother’s things. It was of her father’s family from Lithuania, and it was drawn by my mother’s Lithuanian cousin, Al Valiunas. Al’s father was my grandfather’s brother and had remained in Lithuania with the rest of the Valiunas family when my grandfather made the trip to America around 1913. I never met my grandfather. He died when my mother was only 13. She always spoke of him with so much love, that I had always wanted to know more about him.
Now here was my opportunity. So I found some Flash-based family tree software, and input into it the details of the Lithuanian Valiunas family tree. A previously-unknown cousin in Chicago found me somehow and sent me a whole slew of additional information, primarily about the Sutkaitis side of the family (my great-grandmother and her family).
Now, three websites and over a decade later, this endeavor has grown a bit, and presently includes more family members, including parts of my husband’s family, plus a well-organized genealogical database that already contains a tremendous amount of family tree information with the potential to add much more.