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Saturday, February 16, 2019

Don't Let Time Get Away Part 1

In 2015, I blogged about how,  for the second time in my life, I found lost family (or, rather, they  found me).

In February of 2015, I explained that I had not been in touch with anyone on my mother's side of the family in many years (by my count, it must be over 30 years).  

At about the same time, the genealogy website Ancestry.com offered a free weekend.  I took advantage of it, and I started to build a family tree of my mother's side of the family, the ____s.  Of course, my memory being limited, I didn't get that far.  After the weekend ended, I decided I didn't have the time to pursue this (as Ancestry is not a free website, I didn't want to waste my money).

Then I received a generic message in an email from Ancestry.com, with a family name I did not recognize but a message saying that she was working on a family tree of the ____s and thought we might be related.  I clicked to respond, and found I had to join Ancestry even to send a message.
 
A bit later, I received another email:

" Hi, I just spoke to my father (let's call him "N"), who told me that you are first cousins. My mom was thrilled that I had found you. Seems like they had been looking to contact you for years and could not find out where you were. They would love to be able to write or call you."

Her father "N" is vague in my memory.  I did some quick research (what I could get for free, because I could not remember his first name), but I sure knew the last name well. It was the last name of one of my Mom's sisters.  Could I truly have been found by my mother's family by someone, after years of searching?

I discovered that Ancestry was having another free weekend for  Memorial Day weekend, and I had limited access to the site again! I messaged back, with some more information.  And then I heard back.

The answer is yes.  I have been found by someone on my mother's side of the family.

The woman who sent me the message is my first cousin once removed on my mother's side (her grandmother and my mother were sisters).  Her mother, an aunt who had continued contact with me for a few years after I married, passed away (my newly found cousin told me) in 1998.  And now we have each other's email addresses.

I told my spouse and I think he was just as, if even more, excited than I am.

So let me backtrack a little.

When I was 17 years old, I started dating a boy who was in one of my college classes. We were of different religions.  I am Jewish.  My husband is Catholic.  In 1970, that mattered.  It mattered a lot.

Some members of my family were less than thrilled. That sister of my mother's did keep in touch for a few years but then she passed away.   I had no contact with my mother's side of my family for many, many years. 

Times have changed tremendously. 
 
Well....I had a couple of email exchanges with my cousin "N", who sent me family pictures.  In November of 2015, he sent me an email ending "Let's keep in touch".
 
But we didn't.  It was all my fault.  When "N" (who was in his 80's) sent me that email, my mother in law was having a major health crisis.  One thing led to another and I thought of my family from time to time in the resulting haze of caregiving, working full time, and various family dramas, but I never did respond to my lost-then-found family.
 
Until today.
 
Tomorrow....the story continues.

5 comments:

  1. Ancestry.com, a wonderful site. I’ve had cousins from two different branches of my father’s family contact me while doing research. My cousins knew that our grandfather changed his name when he came to this country, but they didn’t know the original name or our grandmother’s maiden name. The cousins knew that I would know.


    My grandparents sat shiva for one of my aunts when she married a Catholic, so yeah, I understand.

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    Replies
    1. I have a feeling my story is not uncommon. Which, in its own way, is sad.

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  2. I lost contact with a first cousin & when I did the paying part of Ancestry found out he had passed.

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    Replies
    1. I'm sorry. I was honestly expecting something similar, given the age of my first cousin. I feel like I've been given a second chance. I hope the cousin is in good enough health to allow this visit to happen.

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  3. It's amazing how easy it is to lose touch with people. And then life intervenes, and it's hard to find the time to keep up with them. Glad this story is going to have a happy ending (I assume...).

    ReplyDelete

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