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.