I use to listen to my dad talking of how he was related to someone in the family, this use to almost always embarass my mother, but afterI found lots of good information on her people back to the Revolutionary war and further, she began to tell me bits of information I did not know about her family. She died at age 98 and I am so glad I found this for her. Now I wish I had found alot of the information I have found on his people before he died. Most of my people came over to America in the early1600's except the Browns and a few others who came in the early 1700's. Both my grandmothers had native american ancestry and its very hard to find anything on them. I even talked with someone who said we were descended from John White of the Lost Colony but there isnt much information I can find on it. I also have White family ancestors as well as my husband. I had a genealogy teacher over at Tri County Community in Murphy, NC who helped me lots with my genealogy studies, Mr. Larry Van Horn. I dont think my genealogy will ever end, I keep finding bits of information here and there as I go along.
I love my cousins I grew up with but I am the only one who "searches" except for one who died in November at age 82. Way before internet I met cousins though the mail - several of them. We would also do phone calls. Over the years I have finally met in person with my "letter writing kin". I love them and consider them beloved cousins. Since internet, I have meet so many cousins till I can hardly keep up with them. I now have a large close circle of cousins - those I met before internet and those after. I just feel such an awesome connection to these other searchers. We all can't wait to share our "finds" or listen to others share theirs. Only a searcher understands that. I don't just know about their family history research but about other parts of their lives. They are just my family and I love them. I worry about them when they are sick. I weep with them when they lose a loved one. I rejoice with them about happy things. I can't imagine them not being a part of my life. And since dna, I have met even more I feel the same way about. I have now met most of the ones I am close to and hope to met the rest. We had a reunion in Hancock CO, TN this past October. We all felt that we had known each other forever. I just couldn't stay long enough to do all the visiting I wanted to. I have met others at other locations. These cousins have shown me places I would never have found on my own since they were familiar with the area. I connected on dna to a cousin in CA. I went to her family reunion in VA and she took me to places I could never have seen. I had been to a locked gate, climbed over, and never saw anything but cattle. I had to go through the opened gate in a 4 wheel drive - drive around the cattle - and go a ways to get to the cemetery I was seeking and the old mansion ruins. I would never have walked on that land if it hadn't been for a dna match with a kind and wonderful cousin who has filled their family reunions to overflowing with all the cousins she keeps finding and inviting. My life has been made more joyful because of all these found kin and friends - those I have met and those I hope to. I am blessed.
In 1963, I had already been doing genealogy for 15 years. My grandfather had a stroke and came to live with us that year. I knew his parents were from Canada, and I had their names, dates, and places, but really knew little about them. I discovered that my grandfather was in touch with his Uncle George in Ontario, Canada, so when my grandfather passed away in 1966, I wrote to "Uncle George" to let him know of my grandfather's demise. The letter I got back was from "Uncle George's" sister-in-law, telling me that "Uncle George" had passed away the same day as my grandfather. I continued writing to "Aunt Mabel" for about four years, and she told me a little about the family in Canada. Then I got a letter from her daughter Pat, telling me that I should write to her from that time, because her mother was losing her eyesight and she would share the letters. Pat was a kindred soul, who was also doing genealogy, and a member of the Ontario Genealogical Society. Pat and I corresponded frequently for the next ten years, sharing our research. In 1982, I made a trip to Canada, and met Pat, her brother and sister, her mother and her own family. For the next 10 days, my camper was parked in her back yard, and we toured the area together, seeing the family's first home in Canada, visiting many cemeteries, meeting more family and hearing many family tales. We bonded, and I felt that she was as close to me as my sister, even though we were really half first cousins two removed. Her father was half-brother to my great-grandfather, but she was younger than I by four years. Pat and I are still in contact, and I made another trip back to Canada in 2012, and I got to meet the younger generations. I stay in touch now through Facebook, not only with Pat's family in Canada, but with many "cousins", distant in miles as well as relationship. Of my 515 Facebook friends on five continents, 386 are "family".
In 1971 a friend in the DAR wanted to trace my family so I could join. I just laughed. I knew absolutely nothing about my family beyond the names of my grandparents and some of my great grandparents. My parents and grandparents were all gone, and the few aunts and uncles still living knew very little. I started with my great grandmother's Bible she had given my mother. It had their wedding date and place, plus the names and birth dates of a family I had never heard of. A search of census records for the county of their wedding showed it to be her mother's family. From there I spent hours and hours in the genealogy library and writing hundreds of letters, finding many unknown distant relatives generous with their information. Daddy knew nothing of his family, and years after his death I found one of his old cousins who gave me the name of another cousin. She had tried to get in the DAR in the 1920's and had saved old letters from relatives in Indiana Daddy knew nothing about. Those letters, written by my gr-grandmother's nephew born in 1854, gave an eye witness account of her family "loading the wagons and heading west." They ended up in Texas, and I so wish I had learned the information I have now in time for my dad to hear it. I now have several file cabinets and book shelves full, plus stacks and stacks of loose papers, and am so amazed at the wonders of the internet and email. Now I'm hoping DNA will prove some of my "lost" ancestors, if I can ever learn to read the results. I could never do algebra, and DNA is even a bigger mystery so far. I am enjoying the blogs, and one of these days will know what they are saying. And the DAR? I have at least five ancestors I could prove, if I had time to bother with the paperwork; and possibly the Colonial Dames.
I currently have 2 best friends who I met through genealogy. Also, I have many more 'cousins' I correspond with on occasion as we keep one another up to date on our lives. While a lot of a genealogists time is spent alone in front of a computer or keyboard, so many new contacts broaden our world.
We had our first family reunion in 2012, expect about 30 people and ended up with 85. Most of us hadn't met in person before that time. The 2nd reunion is in the works.
Roberta - your website has been a fantastic learning tool for me and an inspiration. Through Family Tree DNA I recently found a half-sibling. It has changed my life and I am so thrilled getting to know him. Have also found lots and lots of cousins. I feel like I've only scratched the surface. It's a wonderful addiction!!
Roberta, I absolutely love your blog. I have found many "cousins" through traditional genealogy as well as more recently through DNA tests. I also started researching back many years ago (before the computer and Internet), had twin toddlers, taught high school and went to night school and summer school working on my Master's degree. Although I quickly realized that I did not have the time nor the money to continue my search for ancestors at that time, I did benefit from letting my relatives know that I was interested in this research. I had an Aunt and and Uncle who both had the same interest that dated back to the 1930s-40s. They had interviewed the "older generation" (those who had died long before I was born), they had found family Bibles and copied all the births, deaths and marriage records out of them, etc. They both made copies of their information and sent it to me…that was decades ago. Now that I am retired, I used all their shared information as my foundation for my research. Now, with a computer, Internet and various genealogy sites, I can discover more in one evening of research than I would have been able to during my entire life back in the early days. Now with the DNA testing, I am finding a multitude of "cousins"…some shared the same great grandparents. And yes, I have lots and lots of "cousins" as my Facebook friends.
Thank you so much for your genealogy blog, I look forward to reading each one as it pops up in my e-mail box.
Judy Carson Ackerman- Edmond, OK
My family research of 30+ years has led me to many, many close-distant(!) cousin relationships which have led to reunions. I'm working the genetic angle into the scheme of the vitally important traditional research. A fun challenge!
BTW, Roberta, you and I share a FF match at FTDNA, proposed to be 3rd-to-5th cousins at chromosome 8:
It appears we could have a Webb MRCA. If you ever start researching this surname branch, let me know. It's not one I've paid much attention to either.
I finished the names in my tree a long time ago.
All I have done is add details to take the family back to 1604 or arrival in North America.
I have made less than a half dozen line changes.
I have had to snip off the imaginary Acadian European Ancestors.
Cajun cousin Paul