Guest Post: We Are Family…?

Here’s another post from This and That’s new Contributor, Jasmine Ratliff…

Calandra and I are cousins because my grandmother and her mother are sisters. I think technically that makes us second-cousins (she and my mom would be first) but regardless, we know the connection. In the past year, though, I found new family in unfamiliar places.

I’m a big fan of genealogy. I started becoming interested when my dad created a family photo wall in the first house he bought. He had pictures going back 3 generations, to my great-grandmother on his mother’s side. She was so light-skinned that when I first saw her picture I said “Who is that white lady?” The next time we were at my grandmother’s house she pulled out her Bible and showed me the names of family members going back to that same great-grandmother, plus her brothers and sisters, marriage dates, everything. I was hooked to know who my family was.

Years later a friend showed me Ancestry.com and after a little exploration I bought a membership. A couple of weeks after joining and entering the family info I received an email. A woman was researching a similar family surname and wanted to exchange information. After several emails that included comparing stories, looking at census records and even learning a little more about each other I googled her name. Found her on Facebook and did a double-take…wait…she’s white! I emailed her to make sure I had the right person; yep I did. Wow…

Turns out her great-great-grandmother was my great-great-grandmother’s sister. We share the same great-great-great-grandfather. She had pictures of him that I would just stare at in amazement; that’s my…our…family. She’s been able to spend much more time collecting data than I’ve been able to but I’ve definitely been inspired to keep searching. I want to be able to share as much family history with my daughter that she’s been able to share with her son and twin girls.

We became Facebook friends (family!) and check in now and again. One of these days I hope to meet her in person and hang out with my newly found family. I encourage everyone to research their ancestry. You may be surprised who’s related to you…and I hope pleasantly so!

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