Last year I finally corresponded with a cousin whom I was searching for these last 25 years. I posted last year how conversations with him allowed me to "push aside the curtain" and learn more about my gr-grandmother's side of my family. All my research showed this gr-grandmother as a descendant of those godly ministers, the Mathers. My cousin was able to give me more information about this branch of my tree including conversations his grandmother had with her father. (Isn't that what we search for...a glimpse of day to day life of our ancestors? )
In July I was able to meet him in person. It was the first time I met him as well as his family-even though we lived a few towns away. And it felt like we knew each other all our lives. We spent that afternoon and the next day attached at the hip sharing family stories.
Ironically his sisters and my sister worked with each other for years! They never knew they were related. The three of them use to laugh and joke and say they were cousins while they were working. (My sister's response when I asked her if she knew them was, "Why, are they cousins? hahahaha." I texted her back, "Yeah...hahahaha, they are Dad's cousins!" Which she responded, "OMG!")
So when we meet this summer on that warm July day, we each had something for the other. I had documents and photos that he didn't have. He had a photo of my grandmother as a toddler!
I was stunned as I looked at it for the first time. My daughter was a spitting image of her at the same age. The back of the photo was equally thrilling. There, written in an unfamiliar handwriting, was the name of my grandmother, my gr-grandparents, and two of my grandmother's brothers...a mini family tree.
But wait, there was something else inside the envelope that contained the photo. It was thicker and about the same size as Grandma's picture. As I pulled it slowly out, I saw it was a stack of papers about 4 x 6 inches in size and clipped at the top. When I examined at it again I was shocked for a second time. It was a copy of my gr-gr-grandfather's genealogy that was published in 1849! All I could think about as I read the pages was that my gr-gr-grandfather's eyes read these same pages!
Some people dream of winning money. I dream of family history. If genealogy had a lottery, I would be a mega-genealogy winner. Christmas in July? I think so!