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Sunday, 20 October 2013

Reuniting and reconnecting with family through genealogy

I wrote a post a few months ago about finding some of my mum's relatives on Facebook and how after getting in touch with one of them, she had put me in touch with another cousin who had sent me a wealth of family history information collected over time.

We have shared emails, letters and photos over the last six months so there was one thing left to do - meet up. This wasn't easy to arrange as I felt it important my mum came along too as the link between me (her daughter) and the relatives (her cousins), but I work Monday to Friday and my mum works weekends so we had to find a date we could all be available. We then had to check my mum's cousins were free on the same date, which luckily they were.

So, last weekend we (me, my husband, my mum and my sister) all went to Northampton where my mum's cousins now live to meet them. I was nervous about the trip as I only knew these people through email, letter and telephone and my mum hadn't seen them in close to forty years. But after we had been there a short while, it was like we had known them forever!

It was particularly nice to see my mum reconnecting with people she had last seen as a teenager - people who shared the same grandparents as her and had memories of her and her siblings growing up. The weirdest thing of all was how much my mum looked like one of her cousins, and her cousins daughter. There was definitely a strong family resemblance between them, and not just in looks but in mannerisms too. That fascinated me as it was another example of why family history interests me so much - the fact that some things are inexplicably genetic.

My mum (centre) reunited with two cousins after nearly forty years!
The day went really quickly and we all plan to meet up again soon as there wasn't much time for family history chat. But it was a really nice day, and another reminder of why reconnecting with your past can often bring benefits to the here and now.

Coincidentally, the cousin who we visited lives just a few miles from where a branch of my Dad's family originated on the Northants canals. So next time we visit Northampton there is a whole other branch of the family tree to investigate!

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