Last week I had a very unexpected experience. I met a cousin that I had never heard of before. We were in the same place, I heard his last name, then where he was from and had to interrupt to ask if he was related to my GrandAunt Beth‘s husband, Uncle Darwin. After all, they share the same last name, a last name I’ve only ever heard in my own family, and they are from the same city about 2 hours North of me.
He responded with, “Yes, I am related to Darwin and Beth.” At first, I was thinking that he was acknowledging his relationship to Beth through marriage. I was wrong. As we talked it became clear that he is actually more closely related to Aunt Beth – and to me! – than to Uncle Darwin. This man and I share the common ancestors of Frederick William Ellis & Susan Kaziah Davis, pictured above. We are second cousins once removed!
As we talked, I mentioned that I have a few family treasures from Frederick & Susan and invited him to stop by my home the next day to have a look. He was staying with his daughter who lives in the next town, just minutes from my home.
The very next day, my newly discovered cousin came to my home, so did my Uncle. We looked at some family treasures, talked about our shared family members, and were in awe of some of the artifacts that have survived all these years. He especially enjoyed going through the Family Record book kept by Frederick. He lovingly stroked the pages as he saw the names of his mother, grandparents, and then his own name, and the names of some of his siblings handwritten by his great-grandfather. It was a beautiful moment. We had a mini-Ellis family reunion right in my piano room. It was a wonderful two hours of sharing.
My cousin is in his upper 80s, yet he is a second cousin to my father who is in his mid-60s. Despite the geographic distance, the age difference, and never having met before – nor even hearing of each other before, we discovered our connection at a very unexpected moment.
And now I can’t help but wonder, how many cousin connections are all around me as I go about my daily life? How many cousins have I spoken with and not known they were my cousin? How many treasures do I hold that would mean so much to my unknown loved ones if only I realized who they were, how we connect and invited them to stop by and spend a little time enjoying the treasures of our shared ancestors?
This wonderful cousin is the first one to ever take me up on an offer to stop by to see some family heirlooms. I hope he won’t be the last.
And now, I fear, I will become that person who obsessively tries to analyze everyone’s tree in my head while I talk to them. But that’s not a bad thing, right? 😉
Our visit has prompted me to review some treasures that I can’t wait any longer to share. My next several posts will focus on this part of my tree. I’ve already begun scanning. Are you excited?! I am. <3
ps – This means the several posts I have been working on for weeks are being pushed back again. Do you ever find yourself experiencing genealogy ADHD? That’s what I feel like this week. So much to share – so little time! Can’t focus or finish because of the wonderful interruptions. And I suddenly feel even more sorry for my child with ADHD. I feel it with genealogy, he feels it all the time.