Thursday, March 15, 2007

Finding Family

One of the best parts about doing genealogy is connecting with cousins and family you never knew you had!

Last weekend I had the pleasure of meeting a newly found Alzo cousin. Her name is Mary and she will turn 90 this April!


Mary's son made the initial contact back in December (see my previous post, "When the Hunter Becomes the Hunted"), after obtaining a copy of my book Three Slovak Women, and Mary recognized many of the names and places mentioned in it.

Mary's mother, (also, Mary) was my grandpap Alzo's sister. The elder Mary was married to a man in Slovakia and had Mary before her husband died of the Spanish Influenza. In 1920, Mary and her daughter came to America - my grandpap Alzo paid their way. Mary used to stay with my grandma and grandpap while her mother worked and Mary's mother then met and married a widower with three children, and they eventually had three children of their own.

During our visit, she relayed stories to me from when she was growing up and we amazingly had some of the same photographs in our respective albums. Mine were not labeled and Mary graciously filled in the blanks!

Genealogists often talk about serendipity and I believe I just experienced. Just when I thought I hit the ultimate roadblock with finding out more information about my Alzo ancestors (see my article "What Do I Care About Those People...They're Dead") a real connection appeared!

For anyone out there thinking that they've done all they can to break down that brick wall or that they've learned all they can about their family, I can attest that there are still a few surprises out there if you are open to the possibilities. You may not see them coming or they may turn up when you least expect it. I have been a genealogist for over 16 years and I truly know that with genealogy you're never done! There's always someone new to meet or a lost piece of information to uncover!

3 comments:

Miriam said...

How exciting for you, Lisa! I agree with you that finding new cousins (especially those interested in family history!) is definitely the best part of tracing one's family tree.

Thomas MacEntee said...

Welcome Lisa to the COG from a fellow New Yorker now in Chicago!

Colleen said...

I think I'm going to have to order that boook, Three Slovak Women. I read the exerpt, and found it interesting. I'll find it even more interesting if I'm ever able to prove my great-grandmother was born in Czechoslavakia.

Welcome to the COG.