I watched the recent news story regarding the family skeleton in Oprah's mother's closet with interest. It must have been hard for her to give up an infant she knew she couldn't care for as it has been for mothers for years. How exciting the genes that were passed were able to provide joy for the family. Oprah and her family talked lovingly of the sister who had previously died and how similar the mannerisms are of the newly discovered sister are. How blessed they are to have found her and to have her presence bring back so many loving memories of one who has gone.
It's the same in so many families. When I think about the cousins I have met whose laugh can stop me in my tracks, or whose eyebrows can make me cry, I think about the genetics and how our deep our family ties can be. I just love hearing the laugh of the cousin who sounds just like my mom did, or looking at the eyebrows of a cousin who I just know took them straight off my dad, or even the I'm-rather-ticked toe tapping that my child does as she stands and looks just like grandma.
And to go further, I love looking at old photographs to see if I can identify any family traits that have been passed down. And yes, the old photos have me looking so much like my dad's mom and my children looking like their 3g grandma. Amazing.
Just recently, I established contact with a descendant of a female cousin. This female cousin, Margaret GLENN (1837-1902) was a bear to find. Tracing married female cousins can be hard to do when they moved away from the area and lost contact over the years.
I knew about Margaret from the 1936 papers of my cousin, S B HERDMAN. In that tree, SB had written that Margaret had married a McKEE and had 3 children of which he was aware. McKEE was a college professor. End of story.
Until a month ago----
One of my other GLENN types had asked me if I had ever traced her line in more detail. I had not as Margaret was the granddaughter of my 4g uncle, William GLENN.
I started digging around and found her living in Centre Co, PA, in the 1880 census with her hubby and children. After searching around more for the one child's name that was listed in the 1880 census, I found the family. They had moved to Cleveland later and the sons were prosperous. I found a great great grandson of Margaret and contacted him. He didn't know much of the family, but directed me to his uncle.
I popped off an email to the uncle's business and waited. Waiting to see if they were interested in the family or just thinking I was a nut job--- kind of like Oprah's staff thought when they were contacted by Oprah's newly discovered sister. You know, you always wonder what people really think when someone contacts them and says,'Hey, we're family."
When I contact someone, I try to give them a sense of who I am by having them check out the family cemetery page where I have done a lot of research and work, and by checking out my blog. I also provide enough background info on our mutual relation that they should be able to verify what I say easily.
Sometimes people don't. They either don't check or they don't care. Or perhaps, they think I want more than a distant cousin who can tell me more of the family. That has happened to me before when someone who was famous did not want to connect the dots or know about the other parts of their blood roots. Oh well, their loss.
Anyway, the uncle did call me the other day, and as luck would have it, I was no where near my computer so I probably sounded like a bumbling fool when I was digging into the deep recesses of my mind for the right family connection.
He did tell me more of his family history and I was able to provide more to him. Hopefully, he'll dig around and find some more old pictures for me so I can look for the family mannerisms or traits that give me such a warm touchy-feely feeling.
Ahh, genealogy. Seeing the past on the young descendants today can still provide me with a sense of family, and warmth and love.
©2011 AS Eldredge