While I have mentioned that I have quite a few interests and hobbies, the one area of interest that I do not mention much is my love of doing genealogical research. I have been working on it on and off for about 10 years now. There are parts of the family tree where I just hit major brick walls so I stop for a while and turn my attention to other things. The journey is really rather fascinating.
A few years ago I started posting my family tree research on line with Ancestry. I totally forgot about it and went on about my business for the past couple of years. Until around January of this year, that is, when I got an email from someone who said that she thought we might be related. She provided some detailed information and it indeed turned out that her great grandmother and my great great grandfather were brother and sister and had traveled to this country together from England. Our family were generations of silk workers who made the transition from the silk industry in Macclesfield (Cheshire) England to Paterson, NJ during the Industrial Revolution.
My cousin and I shared a connection from the beginning when we started communicating. Most phone calls are about two hours. The similarities between us are truly uncanny (almost eerie), right down to our birthdays. Although she is a few years younger than me, her birthday is the day after mine. We both are crazy about our dogs, love crafts, and have the same sense of humor. We both say that we feel like we have known each other for years. She is a real treasure to me and is a very wise, and super fun person.
Right now she is on the trip of a lifetime. She and her hubby have traveled back to England and Ireland to do some family research there. She invited me to come along, but I figured a new job would not be down with it. So I had to pass. She is walking in the same places our ancestors were and I have been so excited for her. I can only imagine how powerful it must be to stand on the same earth as them. She plans on going back in a couple of years and I am in!
One thing that we agree on is that it is because of the decisions of our ancestors to take the chance to come to America that we have the lives that we do now. They left an extremely economically depressed area at a time where there was opportunity in America. They also left a family, knowing that they would never see them again, and all that they had ever known, to come here. Who knows what our lives would have otherwise been like? It was pretty courageous and I have to wonder if they could have known the positive impact that their decision would have three and four generations later. So I honor them.
So now I am looking forward to my cool cousin coming back home to the USA (she lives in the midwest). It will be fun to catch up and hear about her travels. And talk about our dogs, food, life and all of the good things we know. It is funny how the blessings just rain down. And you never know if the gift of a family member or a new friend is right around the corner, waiting to connect.