Finding cousins online has been a joy

by — Nov. 25, 2000 (Comments)

As a practicing genealogist, I have found many cousins online. Genealogists are a very friendly group of people. We know the heartaches of not being able to break through the wall of finding an ancestor and the joy of, after years of searching, finding that one elusive great great ancestor.

The world has become smaller because I have become acquainted with cousins that live all over the United States. At first we keep in touch frequently, then only occasionally, but we keep in touch. We do not lose each other again. Our busy lives forbid us to have a regular exchange. However, the thread of our ancestors run through our lives and connects us in ways that only we can be aware and acknowledge.

All of us have a lot of the same experiences, but unless you have been a family member, only you know exactly what that means. Genealogists have to be super detectives, historians, family oriented, creative, and caring about others to be able to keep in touch with each other. They are eager to share what they have worked so very hard to find out, to reach out to each other in times of need, and to share the heartache and joys of finding each other and the elusive ancestor.

Some of us have wills and important documents and we share that knowledge with our cousins. Some of us have pictures and diaries. There are the online hosts of ancestor research (too numerable to mention) but some of which are and that have allowed our research to go beyond the limits of travel and queries hoping for an answer that may or may not be available.

Once we find who we think we are (only certification will prove it), some of us will find that we have castles in Scotland, mansions in Palm Beach and vacation places in Europe. We can sometimes find pictures of those places online. What a gift. Oh, I don’t mean we own them, but we know our ancestor did or stayed there. We can obtain permission from the photographer to display these new places on our walls and in our scrapbooks. This new place has possibilities for a vacation for us to actually see the area our ancestors lived and walked. Another vacation possibility comes about when we meet and correspond with these new cousins. We correspond and get to know who they are today and exchange research. We become friends, like no other friends in the world, because we are also related.

It is a new day and a new type of friendship. That thread that runs through our background binds us into a relationship like no other. Family is truly a priceless gem and these new cousins become part of that family. The computer has opened up so many new possibilities for both research and extending your family.

This brings unlimited possibilities. As a grandmother, I can now introduce my grandchildren to an even wider world that will include new family members and new family stories. I can show them pictures of places that are only occasionally discussed in the classrooms. Families are so important and adding to that family structure is a rare treat and a wonderful way to enlarge it and include more wonderful people in it.

I am so thankful I am a genealogist. It has added greatly to my life and history and what I can share with my immediate family.