I recently discovered my genetic “roots” using the AncestryDNA kit and I blogged about the process and the results here. I don’t know how much that information will mean to me at any point in life, but it was a great experience and I’m glad I did it. I recommend it to anyone with the same burning curiosity as I had about where I come from. But there was ANOTHER thing that happened with me on Ancestry.com and I have to tell you all about it:
While I was busy on the site, looking up information on my relatives on my maternal line I came across the profile of someone who had an entire branch in common with me. It started with my Grandma Frances and went back a generation to my Great Grandpa Jim, Grandma’s Daddy. I had no idea who this person was but I knew it wasn’t merely coincidence that we had so many relatives in common in the same small town in South Carolina. So I reached out to them:
My name is CaShawn ______. I live in Washington,DC. My Grandmother was Frances I. [maiden name-married name]. My Mother is Annie M.[maiden name-married name]. We seem to have a lot of relatives in common. Please call or email me.
I don’t check my Ancesty inbox often, so it took me about 6 weeks to go back to my account, but when I did this person had sent me a message back:
I’m in Baltimore. My Grandmother is Dora M. [my grandma’s maiden name-married name]. I would also like to connect. I’m not sure how to navigate through all of this just yet. My number 443-XXX-XXXX.
“Oh word?? FOR REAL??”
I already knew just from growing up that I have a great aunt named Dora and that she is one of Grandma’s younger sisters. And I also knew she lived in Baltimore. But I didn’t know anything past that. NOTHING AT ALL. But there was a cousin of mine that I never knew right up the road in Baltimore! I was super excited so of course I called her right away!
Audrey is my 2nd cousin because we share great-grandparents. As it turns out, Audrey’s father is one of my mom’s first cousins that they called “Bo.” My Aunt Dora had almost as many children as my Grandma did so we have quite a few relatives in Baltimore. But because Audrey didn’t have a lot of info on her father’s side of the family she didn’t know anything about us down in DC. We talked on the phone for quite a while and were absolutely delighted to have found each other. I called my mom and my Aunt Mary to compare details and sure enough, they confirmed everything Audrey was able to tell me about her dad and her uncles, aunts and her grandparents. Is that not the most amazing thing ever?? Audrey said “I never knew I had a cousin in DC!” I am one of my Grandma’s 40-odd grandchildren from her 10 children. I said “Oh, Audrey…you have a SLEW of cousins in DC!” LOL
The very next evening, my Aunt Mary was hosting a big family gathering at her house in the DC suburbs to celebrate my cousin Missy’s recent graduation from college. Since Audrey is right up the road in Baltimore, I invited to come down and meet some of the family. She agreed and she came with her youngest daughter Gabby in tow. It was Love at first sight! Family Love, Lost & Found.
Audrey and Gabby were both welcomed with open arms by “The Tribe.”
(l-r) My sister Rita, New Cousin Audrey, my 1st cousin Jay (who was named after Audrey’s grandpa but we ain’t even know it), My 1st cousin Tony, the oldest male grandchild, Me & My Uncle Buddy who is my Grandma’s baby boy.
What was the most striking was how much Audrey looked like us. She said she never knew where she got her looks until she hooked up with us. We had already added each other on Facebook, so I’d already poked around in her pictures and seen and commented about how much she resembled me and my Mother.
Audrey & Me
We’re not twins or anything like that, but you can TELL she’s one of us just by looking at us together. That’s our people!! Audrey and I are keeping in contact now since we seem to be the main Family Genealogists/Archivists now. We’re currently making plans to take a trip to our Grandmas’ home town in South Carolina sometime this summer. We’re going to do some research and visit relatives that I haven’t seen in years and that she’s never met. How cool is that??
Audrey is only a few of years older than I am and lived so close to us for so long. My first cousins and my sister & brother and I all grew up together like siblings and I hate that Audrey missed out on all our childhood and adolescent shenanigans adventures together. Thankfully, we have her, her husband and her children in our lives now and plenty of years ahead to embrace each other with Love.