Facebook can be a great tool to connect with friends you may not have seen in years or with long lost members of the family. One woman has reaped the benefits of this community spirit after she tracked down the family who owns a silver Victorian ring that she found over 30 years ago.
Gemma Albrow, 41, from East Sussex, found a silver ring when she was just eight-years-old in 1989 while rummaging through pieces in her parents jewellery shop. The ring had two names on it so she kept it safe in a bid to reconnect it with its owner one day.
Unfortunately, Gemma could not find the family the ring belonged to and so it went to the back of her mind for many years. She found it again late in 2022 so decided to do some digging on ancestry.com and stumbled across the truth behind the ring.
The ring is inscribed with the names Vincent and Walter Hand, and their birth and death dates. The dates show that Vincent sadly passed away when he was just two-years-old due to TB, and months later Walter fell victim to the same disease.
Gemma explained: "Eight-year-old me just thought it was too sad to let it be melted down - it meant something to somebody. It really struck me that it would have been such a heartbreak for a woman to lose a child so young.
"I always hoped to know who it belonged to. And I thought it was so sad that whoever she was had lost these too people so close together and one of them so young."
Gemma's digging went further and she found the ring belonged to a lady called Hannah Hand. Gemma was then scrolling through Facebook recently when she saw the name Hand in a group about her hometown, Leek in Staffordshire.
She contacted the post's author, Darren Gerrard, and discovered he's married to Susan Gerrard - the great-great-granddaughter of Hannah Hand and the ring was a family heirloom.
All parties then connected through Facebook and the ring was returned after nearly three and a half decades away from its family.
Gemma said: "It was such a shock when I saw the name on a Facebook post I was just scrolling through. It's incredible for me that it's going home and they will cherish it as I did."
In response to being given back the ring after all these years, Susan was overjoyed and said: "It was such a wonderful surprise when Gemma contacted us asking if the family Darren posted about was the same as those named on the ring.
"She sent it to me in a pretty little presentation box and bag with a lovely message. I didn't even know the ring existed. What a star Gemma is.
"She was worried that the ring would have no sentimental value to the person she returned it to but I have reassured her that as long as it is my possession it will never be sold. In due time I hope to pass it on to my daughter and later it will go to my granddaughter.
"I started on my family history quest about 20 years ago and it's been so much fun. I have no idea what happened to the ring before Gemma rescued it."
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