Saturday, January 12, 2008

Meeting Cousins

I grew up in a family that kept itself very isolated from extended family. Why? No reason that I'm aware of, it's just the way it was. So I have a natural reluctance to reach out to relatives. I have names and addresses for many cousins that I should contact but never have. I don't know why just the thought of contacting distant relatives makes me uncomfortable but it does. However I am thrilled when they find me! Yup, I'm a bit odd but I'm not responsible for the genes I was given ;-)

There have been some connections over the years that have really helped me. There have been many connections made through various messages boards. I was able to really fill in a lot on my Canadian lines this way. I have received Bible records, photos and other records through online connections. I have also freely shared what I have. In the last few days I have either located or tried to reconnect with four different cousins. Just this morning there was a message posted to the Wisner board looking for information on the line that I've been working on! Sadly I just located some Kelly cousins through a local obituary. It feels wrong to contact them at this time.

I may have connected online with many distant relatives over the years but there are very few that I've met in person.

Several years ago, I made a visit to Collamer Cemetery in East Syracuse, NY. I had visited the cemetery once before and I don't remember why I went back. I was taking pictures of the Badgley monuments when the caretaker stopped his mower and came over to me and asked if they were my people. I told him that they were distant relatives. He then said that they were his daughter-in-law's people. I was so surprised that I didn't know quite how to respond. I wrote down my information and he passed it on.

It wasn't long before I was contacted by my cousin. Her mother was a Badgley and would like to meet with me. Sadly she died before a meeting could be arranged. But later on I was invited to my cousin's and she had invited another cousin. We spent a very pleasant morning exchanging information.

I grew up near Syracuse thinking that I had no relatives in the area. I know now that I have several cousins here, on both sides. I tried to contact one cousin several years ago and was rebuffed. I haven't tried to contact anyone else since then but with some of the tips and stories that other have been sharing maybe it is time that I try. Of course I could just hang out in the local cemeteries and see what happens.

This was written for the 40th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy, Living-relative connections, hosted by Jasia at Creative Gene.



I understand exactly how you feel.
I have a few that I am reluctant
to contact. I am not so sure they
will feel the way I do about
genealogy. I have been very fortunate with many wonderful
folks on the internet.

Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

I think I need to take more of a let's swap stories position with some of my cousins rather than lets work together on genealogy. For some the word genealogy is a turn off I think.

The people I meet online are so much more comfortable because they are already interested. :)


This is a good approach, and I
think I might try it. Swapping
stories sounds better and much
more relaxed!

Colleen said...

I found also that you never know who is tracking your research. I'd been contacted by a second cousin a few years ago, and we exchange emails from time to time. She recently forwarded an email to me from her aunt, who apparently with another aunt has been following my blog. Apparently they enjoy it even though they say there's been some discrepancies! LOL. I wish they'd let me know what those discrepancies are! But I suspect part of their enjoyment is watching me fumble through this! At any rate, I do think it's cool that I have living relatives of various degrees keeping up with my blog.

Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

Great point! I know I have many more subscriber's than I have commenting!

If you're lurking out there leave a comment just to say Hi! :-)

Janice said...


I think that newly-found cousins sometimes are reluctant to be discovered because they misleadingly believe you might expect to go move in with them. I, for one, only expect a week's vacation in your home when it is convenient for me (grin).