FAMILY SURPRISE: William Pates with his book on his family's heritage.
FAMILY SURPRISE: William Pates with his book on his family's heritage. Matt Collins

Family historian finds more than he bargained for

William Pates is an inquisitive man, but even he was shocked with what he discovered about his family.

18 months ago, Mr Pates began collating a book of his family heritage.

The fascination for his family background sparked as it is almost 100 years since his grandfather bought their Wamuran farm.

But what started as an interesting look back on his family history became a lot more than he bargained for.

"The book started as a silly idea of finding a few relatives,” he said.

"What I found was there was a whole other Kingaroy and Nanango side of the family we never knew existed.”

This meant the already interesting family book, became a whole lot more interesting.

"It certainly made for a bigger book,” Mr Pates said.

"I started searching Pates names in the phone book.

"I just started ringing around saying we are related.”

Like all big families, Mr Pates immediately made all his new found relations feel welcome.

BIG FAMILY: William Pates with other Pates' family members discover their family history.
BIG FAMILY: William Pates with other Pates' family members discover their family history. Matt Collins

"One of the cousins turned 75 recently and we invited all the new relatives to the surprise party,” Mr Pates said.

"It went from 40 or 50 coming along to hundreds.

"That was the surprise for everyone.”

Mr Pates invited all the family to the Nanango Lions Park on Saturday March 23 to peruse the first draft of his book.

THROUGH THE YEARS: Emily Olsson and Eva Ryan (nee Pates) at the Pates' book draft launch.
THROUGH THE YEARS: Emily Olsson and Eva Ryan (nee Pates) at the Pates' book draft launch. Matt Collins

Mr Pates cousin, Maureen McCarthy has been keeping a close eye on her relatives' progressions.

"I love history,” she said.

"Just to see where they are all settled and what they did when they got here.”

Mr Pates hopes unveiling the first draft of the book to his relatives will help to tie up any loose ends.

"I think I have another six months before we got to the publishers,” he said.

Always thinking forward, Mr Pates said he had discovered another bonus of finding all these new relatives.

"For future reference, I now have a lot of matches if I ever need a kidney or liver transplant,” he joked.

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