Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Joy and Blessings of Meeting Cousins

When I was growing up I was very close to my 3 paternal first cousins.  We frequently spent time together for the Holidays and Summers.  Their mother and my father were siblings.  While they didn’t live in the same town they frequently came to visit my Grandparents and we lived only a field away which was very convenient.  Over the years we stayed fairly close despite our adult lives and living in different parts of the country at times.  Weddings, births and now graduations were always great times to get together and fun times to look forward to.  This was a great experience to build on as my genealogical research continues and I find new cousins.

While visiting family in the town I grew up in over the Holidays I was so pleased to be able to reconnect with one 2nd cousin, say a quick hello to another 2nd cousin and meet two 3rd cousins that I don’t think I’ve ever met.

It’s hard to explain the feeling of meeting new cousins.  It’s strange the bonds we share from our common ancestors.  The stories passed down in a family, the pictures saved, the Bible notations that connect us.

I was amazed to see that one of my new 3rd cousins brought some of the same pictures I brought to our get together.  Unlike mine though…..hers actually had names and the reason the picture had been taken-a family wedding.  In another photo she was able to identify who the ‘city slicker’ was in the fancy car.  (details to follow in future blog posts)
Warner siblings Warner Franklin photo in car
                            Eleanor Warner’s wedding                                                              Franklin Warner

I think it was Maureen Taylor (see post Photo Friday-Mystery Man) in a talk that said if you don’t have names on pictures check with other family members to see if they have the same photos but perhaps with names.  Good lesson and it proved true in this case!

The 2nd cousin I was able to reconnect with was able to share a book of local interviews that I had not seen before.  One of the people interviewed was our Great Uncle who talked a lot about his growing up which gave me a lot more info about my grandfather’s adolescence.  Stories I had never heard.  What a great find!

Then there was my Exciting News to follow-up on.  (See blog post Exciting News-Carrie’s Letters) I had finally found and talked to my great-grandmother Carrie’s sister Ella’s great-granddaughter.  We had agreed to meet and had a wonderful day! We talked for hours.  We discovered so many similarities in our lives; same undergraduate degrees, she worked at facility that I had also applied to, we had the same summer jobs in college for several years,  (Also found out that one of my 2nd cousins did the same thing too-small world), etc. Then she had pulled down a box from her attic of ‘stuff’ from her ancestors.  The box turned out to be a treasure trove of info!  While we were looking for pictures of her great-grandmother we found several photos with this being my favorite.
Billard Ella Terry photo in buggy

We found a variety of photos, newspaper clippings, address books, notes on envelopes, etc. in the box which took us several hours to go through.   I took lots of pictures of things we found.  While I was hoping for a picture of Ella and Carrie together my cousin reminded me not to give up because….”we still have more boxes to go through next time”.  Wow!  What a find!  While I am so grateful for the information I think the best part was getting to know my cousin, her husband and father!

I have to admit that with the information I gathered from cousins and a trip to the County Probate office as well as the County Historical Society I am feeling a little overwhelmed with information and need some time to process it all.  Definitely a lot more information for future blog posts.  I like to continually look locally for information while I am there and not just use records found on-line so I try to gather as much as possible while I am there. 

We cousins had such a good time that we all want to make this a regular get together when I am back East.  I hope next time when I can visit family I can also talk more to the 2nd cousin I was only able to briefly meet.  Oh and my new 3rd cousin needs to meet my 2nd cousins which are also her family! 

Remember: You never know what little piece of information someone has that will help you put together the bigger picture or break through a brick wall.

While our lives get so busy with our daily routines it’s a good time to remember the blessings of cousins and the ancestors we share.

If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,

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