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Connecting to Family All Around the World

We always love to hear stories about how Geni has helped to bring families together. Today we wanted to share with the community a story from Roberto Bastidas Buch, who after years of research, was finally able to reunite his family after decades apart.

arenys de mar 2017 fam reunion

Arenys de Mar, 2017 family reunion / Photo courtesy of Roberto Bastidas Buch

It was around the year 1978, six years after coming back to Colombia, South America, from the States, where I had been studying in one of the American universities that my interest about my relatives in Europe began to grow. I had plans to travel to that part of the world. My mother used to recall conversations with her father regarding his family in a small community by the Mediterranean Sea called Arenys de Mar. Her father had a fluid correspondence with his family.

In 1941 my grandfather Josep Buch i Mora died and nobody in the family kept the links with the family in Arenys and letters and correspondence were slowing disappearing, except for one piece of correspondence which my father kept in his files. In that letter, in the upper left corner was the address of the family business, a cork factory for the flourishing wine business of the town. My father wrote a letter to the family hoping that the efficient Spanish post office would find the addressee: “Anybody belonging to the Buch Family”. The letter found the way to an uncle and soon my father got an answer. These two letters ended 37 years of silence between the family in Spain and the one in Colombia.

During 1978, I visited Europe and at the end of my business trip, I visited my family in Arenys de Mar, there we had the first personal encounter between members of our families ever. The surprise and rejoicing was very high in the family, for many of us it was a magical moment so difficult to even understand. To see faces so similar to those in my family here and thousands of miles away was amazing. Lots of milestones had passed during the last 60 and more years. Several aunts and uncles of the second generation after my grandfather were alive, the enthusiasm on their faces was just amazing.

During my visit to Arenys de Mar, a set of more than 40 letters and some pictures were given to me by one of my cousins. They had kept most of the letters written by my grandfather and a few pictures sent from the Amazon basin where my grandfather first settled down in a Franciscan community. From these documents I deduced that he had arrived to Colombia around 1910.

During 1978 I started to build our first family tree hosted in my first personal computer. The family tree was there and was not a public document. Later all this information was transferred to the GENI platforms where it has been since 2008. Members of the family started logging in GENI using the slow internet channels available in Colombia during those years.

The family interest started to grow exponentially and now we have 1647 members registered in our family tree.
The information about the family was growing and we decided to share it with our family in Colombia. The first family reunion was organized during 2008. More than 80 relatives arrived to this first encounter. Four years latter we organized the Second Family reunion in the southern part of Colombia on a farm owned by my brother.

Later during 2017 I found out that an aunt of my grandfather and his family, Maria Buch i Campdepadros with her husband Narciso Nadal had migrated to Argentina. Narciso arrived first during 1896 and later on, during 1906, the entire family. After this discovery followed by a visit of the Argentinian cousin to Arenys, then I started a contact with that branch of the family.

Soon communication was established and that branch of the family was incorporated into the GENI family tree. Our cousins in Buenos Aires have been very active and cooperative and soon the family tree was flourishing again.

During 2017 somebody in Catalonia was looking for his ancestors and during a Google search found the name of his great grandfather attached to our family tree in GENI. Soon I had an email requesting information about a member of my family belonging to the Argentinian Nadal-Buch family. After several e-mails and a search of that name in the documentation I had, we found that the person requested by the Catalonian and my relative in the GENI tree was the same person. The news caused happinesses and surprise on both sides of the family, in the European and in the Latin American families.

A search of the whereabouts of this member of the family, took us to Cuba, where he migrated from Argentina, where it was assumed to be lost. In Cuba he married a Galician -a region in Spain- native. The couple travel from Cuba to Galicia Spain and a new branch of the family was established. Part of that branch of the family migrated back to Catalonia, to the same town, Arenys de Mar, where the original family still lives.

One of the most enthusiastic members of the family in Arenys de Mar had been to Colombia twice already, we invited him to our second family reunion, and other cousins were invited for a family celebration in Colombia later on. Two new cousins visited us in Colombia and several of the Colombian branch have visited the family in Spain. There was enough interest in all the branches of the family and it was proposed that a first reunion of the entire family in Arenys de Mar be organized for September of 2018. Representatives from Catalonia and Galicia, Colombia, Honduras, United States, Argentina and Brasil arrived for the Family Reunion and in the September of 2018 we got together nearly 75 relatives from two Spanish provinces and 6 countries.

During [the] days of summer of 2019, we [were] traveling in Honduras and a message from Chile came in, a new branch of the family was identified as living in Chile and we are ready to search the links that bind us as a globalized family. Thank you GENI.

Thank you to Roberto for sharing his story with us! If you have a Geni success story to share, email us at!


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