Friday, December 17, 2004

LONG LOST COUSIN 16,000 TIMES REMOVED

NANA circa 1914


Sometime last year my Aunt surprised me with a letter from a cousin named Hugh. I was rather shocked that I had cousins I knew nothing about. It was then I realized there was a lot about my Dad's side of the family of which I knew very little. In particular, the multitudes of relatives I have in England, Ireland, and God knows where else.

Hugh and I have been sporadically emailing each other ever since then. Anyone who has ever pried the lid off a Pandora box will understand how overwhelming it can be. Yet thrilling.

My Grandmother was a beautiful woman. I found her listed on a manifest in 1913 coming to the United States through Ellis Island. She was to join her husband, who I will call R.P., who was already living in NYC.

It is a tale of woe. R.P. was an alcoholic who abandoned his family leaving Nana  to raise three children alone. Gerald, who is pictured above, died at an early age. Nana cried and grieved for Gerald to her dying day. Nana's family helped, opening the family house in NYC for Nana to stay and have a home for her three surviving children. When her mother died, the family home was overtaken by the oldest (unmarried) brother and Nana was literally put on the street.

Bad Blood was born.  They were never mentioned before I saw the letter from Hugh looking for us! That is why finding all these cousins is such a shock.

I'm writing about this because I am excited. Today I have been contacted by yet another cousin...as she puts it LONG LOST COUSIN 16,000 TIMES REMOVED. She is English and living in Alabama!

Ain't Life Grand?

16 comments:

sistercdr said...

This has to be fascinating.

my78novata said...

OH wow what a way to start the new year off. How interesting. Lori

ksquester said...

It "shore" is grand, Mary!   Happy Holidays!   Anne

readmereadyou said...

What a beautiful photo. It's to be treasured. Sad she had such a hard life but so happy for you to find new relatives to share yours with. God bless.
Angela

sonensmilinmon said...

WoW, how exciting to find all this information.  I've often thought about doing some searches myself as there was some bad blood in our family.  I can also imagine it might be a bit overwhelming too.  So, any plans to meet this new cousin 16,000 times removed? :-)

Monica
http://journals.aol.com/sonensmilinmon/SmilinMonsAdventures/

suzypwr said...

It sounds exciting! I know very little of my extended family, too. Sometimes I wish I could get to know them. I hope you enjoy your new family members! xoxo

yakima127 said...

Yes, it is!  JAE

karensull12 said...

How wonderful and exciting for you!

martinsek5 said...

Wow that's so cool!!!  Pamela

k2plus2 said...

How AWESOME is that?!  I have been doing research for a while now, and it can be really amazing the things you find out about one's 'roots'  Most people seem to take stories like yours good-natured and enjoy hearing the stories.  There are some doozies out there!  I am glad you ahve gotten in touch with some of your 'long-lost.'  Very fun.  And, I love the picture.  Nana was quite lovely!  Cya, Kris

camaroisle050856 said...

    That's surprising!
Best wishesl,
Debi

mlraminiak said...

Wow!  How neat!  It's good not to let old schisms get in the way of forming new friendships with "Long Lost" relatives...  Lisa  :-]

gypsytrader49 said...

What a great photo. I love that family tree stuff.

mrccgoody said...

That's wonderful...I have no long lost cousins, as my multitudes of cousins all live in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky and we've got the family tree traced back for generations (eg, my grandmother and my grandfather were something like sixth cousins, they didn't know it then but we know it now, you find out all kinds of interesting things when you do the research! LOL)...it must be so exciting to be finding all this out now!

deabvt said...

Nana was Beautiful!!
V

daleneentenmann said...

Discovering the stories of ancestors is a fascinating journey and infuses history with a deep sense of the personal. I decided, after living for 50 years and not knowing a whole lot about the people I come from, to start investigating my family's lineage. So many surprises! The best one so far is that I live in a place that 153 years earlier, my g-g-grandfather walked as an Early Oregon Pioneer. He was 21, he came alone. I walk the ground now and imagine there is no time and space between him and me, and I do feel a real connection. I had no idea he had come this way until my research.
What a hard life for your Nana, and a hard life for all women then, to ever be in a position to be 'put out on the street'. How frightened and alone she must have felt, and helpless to do much about it.
She was beautiful! What a great photo to have of her. Dalene of AHH at http://journals.aol.com/ahhliving/AHH