One of the great joys I've experienced since starting to trace my family tree is the joy of meeting and talking with people in the family I never really knew. Not only does this speak to me on a profoundly emotional level, but it also helps out a great deal with the giant jigsaw that is a family.
As I've previously blogged about, I decided to try and interview whoever I could about my family. To begin with, I spoke with my Mum and Dad. My parents are moving out of the country, and as they are doing so, they have dug up a few old photographs that had been shared with them. As we spoke about the photos, Dad was able to remember several little events and point out to me who the people were in the photographs. People have names, names lead to questions, which lead to stories, which lead to more things to talk about :)
As I asked questions about Dad's Mum, Iris Griffiths, he pointed me in the direction of her sister Ruth. I do not think I have ever met Ruth but someone had taught her how to use Facebook. I instantly felt a strong connection with her as Ruth began to answer the many many questions I have about Iris, her family and life as she grew up. I now count Ruth as a good friend and I am honored to spend time each week picking her brain for little tidbits of information. As we spoke (or rather, typed) Ruth thought of someone else I should contact. She helped me get in touch with the daughter of her brother David.
Today I had the first conversation with my "First cousin once removed." At least I believe that's the term! Her mother (Betty or Rosemary) is still alive and now I will be able to send some questions to her mother via email. Just from the few minutes I have spoken to my newly found cousin, I have already found out some great information. More details will be forthcoming.
I'm a Christian and deeply interested in my ancestors faith as well. Turns out my Great Grand Parents on Grandma Iris' side were descended from theJews. Rosemary might be able to shed some light on this and I am super excited about asking questions and hearing the stories that will help explain this connection! So this tree here - will hopefully become more than blank slots!
So for those who still have relatives living that can share stories you yourself have not experienced, or remember information you simply do not know - ask them about their life while you still can! This week there are more people I'm hoping to connect with. My Auntie Wendy (Dad's sister), my Aunt Winnie (My Mum's aunt), and my Uncle Michael (Mum's brother). So much to learn and so little time. I can't wait to hear from them!
There's an old African proverb that says, "When an old man dies a library burns down." I think this was made famous during a 70's T.V. program called "Roots." I'm glad that part of the "library" these people contain can now be passed on!