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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3 thoughts on “Guest Post: We Are Family…?

  1. Pingback: It’s Back! “This and That This Week” « This and That With Calandra

  2. That is waaaay cool and exciting. I watched the PBS special they did a while back where they went back and traced the lineage of several famous people, Yo Yo Ma, Eva Longoria, Kristi Yamaguchi, Meryl Streep, Malcolm Gladwell and so on…I believe there were twelve in all, and it was hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. It was incredible and so, so interesting, but I think the thing I personally found so compelling is how we really are part of something. We are part of a line of people. We are here only because of those who came before us and we never really think about it much or quite so directly. If you have any interest, here is the link to what I refer to above. It is truly amazing and you might get some tips too, on any further searching!

    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/facesofamerica/resources/trace-your-family-history/32/

    • I saw that special Barbara – it was AMAZING! I am thankful to have come from a family that taught us much of our family history. What is especially cool is being able to put that history in context with historical events – knowing what happened to my family post-slavery, during the Great Depression, World Wars, etc. It puts things in perspective. Thanks for sharing the link!

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