As I wrote in my post “Heritage” I’ve been researching my genealogy. I feel so blessed to have made connections that I never had any idea about before. I’ve met cousins (often 3rd through…) and we’ve shared stories which are amazing!
One of the most astonishing things I’ve found are so many similarities, so often I find we think alike and even share favorite expressions — even though we’ve never met before, and often the generation before us had no interaction either. Our mutual likes, dislikes, and even political views really makes me believe in genetic memory!
Now I admit I am not the first one of my relatives to have pursued building a family tree. Many years ago, about a decade, a cousin on my mom’s paternal side tracked down and recorded EIGHT generations! It was a monumental task. Ironically the family tree showed a connection to a person I had known for a few years… talk about a small world.
But there are more trees that intertwine to make me who I am and I have started researching more on my mom’s maternal side. To be perfectly honest my mother was raised in the same small town where many of these people once resided and so many of them remembered her as a child (unfortunately she passed away several years before this cousin reached out to my sister and me). But I’ve formed precious friendships (several through the convenience of the internet).
My dad’s side was quite a bit more challenging as he grew up in a broken home (and again, he passed away rather early as well) so it hasn’t been easy to find out much. Unfortunately the few generations before me have thinned and not a lot of information has been available. I recently found out that my paternal grandfather had a sister but aside from having the name of the man she married I couldn’t find out anything else about her.
Surprisingly, the one grandparent I had little hope of tracking, my dad’s mother, has recently been the newest “tree” in my history. Thanks to that DNA test I took (23andme) I connected with a lovely cousin. We are close in age and grandchildren of sisters. She and I have shared several wonderful conversations about ourselves, our (current) families and so many of the family names that have repeated themselves in both of our lines. This cousin has been involved in a rather extensive family tree which, to my surprise, actually included my parents although neither my sister nor I were known about.
I never could figure out how one figures out anything beyond first cousins – so whether any of these lovely folks I am connected to are related two generations, or longer, ago, we have just all chosen to drop the numerical value of “cousin”. Trying to figure out the number of “great(s)” that comes before a mutual grandparent AND figuring out if you are of the same generation or not gives me a headache. I just prefer to call each relative COUSIN.
Aside from having this yearning to find out more of my roots, I am hoping o compile a bit of a book which I can pass down to my own children, nieces and nephews to help keep the family story very much alive. I know I have a lot of work to do but I am looking forward to this task because, well, THIS IS MY LIFE!