Consequently, I never developed strong ties to my extended USA family that many, if not most, families enjoy. I miss having those ties. As I age, connecting with my past has become more important; that is the primary reason I started my genealogical climb up my own family tree. Though all of my ancestors, my parents included, are dead, I want to do what I can to reconnect them and where they lived.
I remember hearing many names of people I have little or no memory of meeting, places I have heard about and only vaguely recall. I remember certain events that I even wonder if they ever happened anywhere but my mind. My ancestors left no written records, no verbal stories, and precious few photographs, many of which have nothing written on the back to indicate dates, names, or places. All told, with the exception of my own immediate family, four siblings and two parents, I have almost no past.
Until this week.
I have been a paid member of Ancestry.com for several years and have slowly and arduously working on my own tree in hopes of filling some of that empty past. This week, I got an email through the Ancestry site from a person who had a LOT of information about my past. Names, places, dates...it turns out she and I are cousins, the first one I have ever "met!" Her maiden name is the same as my paternal great-grandmother, Minnie Batty, to whom we are both related in different ways. She knew my father, FRED JAMES WILKINSON, who influenced her teaching/librarian career; they even went to the same Teachers College. She knows the name of a camp where he worked when I was just a toddler, of which I have only a vague memory, but a memory that includes a very strong image of me, a nap, a bed, a hornet's nest, and boys laughing. You probably can fill in some of the blanks pretty accurately.
My cousin has been working on her own family tree since 2008. She has siblings and many memories about our shared ancestors, starting with my Great Gramma Minnie. Already, many blanks have been filled in, many questions answered, and many points of confusion clarified.
And we have just started sharing information! She is a retire librarian and a much-more experienced genealogist than I am, so you can be assured I will pick her brain for those tidbits of information I need to fill out my tree.
After all, that is what it's all about. Well, and finding my cousins!