I was the surprise in our family, a baby that came when my siblings were in the end of middle school and early high school. My father was also the youngest son of 11 children in his family, and as a result in timing and circumstances, many of the members of my family were gone either before I was born or when I was very young. As a result I had very little or no memory of any of my grandparents. When I would ask questions about any of them and was met with the answer of "I don't know," my intrigue and my frustration would increase. I believe that is what led me into genealogy. Well- that and my intense curiosity and love of detective work coupled with the success of snooping around long enough in our home until I found some old family photos that amazed me.
Since there was such an age difference, it was more like being a single child, or else my brother would wish on his part, considering the ways I came up with to do my best to disrupt his dates that I was either forced or invited on, I never knew which. Either way, I never grew up with a gaggle of family around me, so these days are extra blessings for me.
Today I met a new cousin of mine. By new cousin, she is technically my second cousin on my father's side of the family. She found me one day because of this blog when she entered the name of our Great-Grandfather, Israel McDaniel into a search engine and my blog came up. I was so surprised to hear that was how she found me, but also so thrilled. atoday we met for breakfast at the local Cracker Barrel. She happened to be in town for a family reunion on the other side of the family.
We could have sat there for hours, and I wished we had the time to do so. After exchanging emails for the past few months, this morning felt like a homecoming. Funny how that happens! We have already discussed meeting again, and I am looking forward to meeting the rest of the family.
I met another cousin about a month ago on my mother's side. She had found me while doing some research on the Raley line on Ancestry and my tree came up, beginning a year of emails back and forth as we worked to find some answers for her and to connect the dots. She lives out west and came to Evansville on a research jaunt with her sister on the way to Kentucky for further research on the family. We met at Willard Library and enjoyed the time together, as we looked for information that helped to break through some walls in her line. My health prevented us from spending more time together, but even a few hours was a treasure.
Just late last night I was writing this Raley cousin an email about our recent trip and checking in on her. After I emailed it I opened my messages only to find that she had been doing the very same in turn, and had just sent me an email about her research trip in Kentucky and included a series of photos of the church and the church cemetery that I am dreaming of touring soon.
To believe that as a little girl I was the one who lined up all my dolls on the couch with long back stories about all of them to now where I have family from Florida to Arizona to Texas and points beyond. Isn't genealogy great!!!