I have loved the past six months, even the really sad times brought benefits, family coming together old friendships renewed and a chance to watch my amazing family support each other every step of the way. One of the most interesting things that happened during this time was due to me having time to follow up research on my family tree where I found a message on my genealogy site. The message said that there was other family tree which included my paternal Grandfather. This was a surprise as Dad’s fathers family originated from Ireland and were the missing link in my family tree, I struggled to get beyond a couple of generations. I began to research this new lead and found indeed that Granddad was included on another tree. I was able to send a message to the family and soon received a message back.
Messages were exchanged and we eventually spoke via the wonders of the internet. She is across the world in Australia, yet it seems that her Grandmother and my Grandfather were actually brother and sister. This was an amazing find, we have living cousins who we had not a clue existed. More investigation proves that we all grew up within a couple of miles of each other each never knowing the others existed. More conversations and emails sent, it seems there are another two cousins still living in our home town, a meeting was arranged.
To find family you have no idea are alive is an amazing piece of luck. To then meet them and realise that it feels like we have always known each other was wonderful. Swapping stories of shared history, finding out the real names of our ancestors and celebrating being a family, it was a very special afternoon. It was a little odd to realise that not only are we closely related we actually have very similar faces, it seems my Dad’s family have created our smiles and our eyes, the likeness was acute. So much so my new cousin and I were taken to be sisters, on our first ever meeting.
We will probably never know why my Granddad stopped seeing his sister. Despite living just 2 streets away from each other all their lives, neither ever spoke about the other. Both sides of the family are close, family minded people, what mystery separated the siblings to such an extent that they never acknowledged the others existence?
So now we are lucky to have increased the people we can love in our family. Three new cousins, each with their own family for us to get to know, and we will. Memories will be talked about, this time not just personal stories, but jigsaw pieces in the picture of another families story. We shall fill a room with husbands, wives, children and grandchildren all with a shared history. We will bring together the generations and make sure they all know each other exist. All this sixty plus years after our Grandparents died, within a year of each other and in the same town. We also suspect strongly they are buried very close to each other as well. We will raise a glass to family, to the future and together we will celebrate the shared past that enabled us all to smile in the same way.