Growing up, I loved spending time with my first cousins on both sides of my family. My definition of ‘cousins’ was formed by these interactions. For me, cousins are good.
As I have gotten older my world has expanded. I understand cousin relationships beyond first cousins. I’ve gotten to know some of my other cousins. I also cherish those relationships. I love making a connection with someone who shares an ancestor. I love to see that we share traits, habits, mannerisms, opinions, values, and simple things that must be genetic or learned from our common ancestor and passed down. Case in point, check out the hand positions in the above photo. No one told us how to stand, only to turn to the side and squeeze together so we would all fit.
I love meeting new-to-me cousins through my blog and online trees. The relationships that develop are awesome. We share information, stories and photos. For me, cousins are good.
What has really surprised me over the years are the few times when I have learned that someone dear to me is also my cousin. This sweet moment has happened three times.
1 – When we purchased our first home, we had amazing next door neighbors. Their two kids were about the same age as our two kids. The husband and wife were almost exactly our same ages. We became fast friends. After a few months of living there, we found out that our two husbands were 3rd cousins. Their grandmothers were first cousins, close first cousins. That meant our children, who were each others best friends, were 4th cousins. Such a fun discovery!
2 – Several months ago I was working in Family Tree on FamilySearch. I noticed that some photos had been added to my 3rd great grandfather Lyman Stoddard Skeen. I looked at the user name and thought it would be an interesting coincidence if that person was who I thought it was. I clicked on the name and saw their email address. Sure enough, it was a woman who lives in my neighborhood. A woman who taught my son piano lessons for a few years. A woman I find completely delightful, a friend. And as it turns out, my 3rd cousin once removed. You know what sweetens that deal? Her son and his family live a few houses down from me. Fourth cousins right there!
3 – Just last week almost the same thing happened. I noticed that some changes were made on my 2nd great grandfather Heber Albert Huband by someone with a familiar name. A woman who I work with at my local FamilySearch Center. A woman I have gotten to know as we have collaborated, attended each others classes, and assisted patrons. She has become a friend, and now I know she is also my 4th cousin once removed.
I LOVE discovering that my friends are also my family! For me, cousins are good. Really, good. I love feeling as if I have cousins all around me.