Showing posts with label second cousins. Show all posts
Showing posts with label second cousins. Show all posts

Friday, February 9, 2018

Learning from Valentines Sent in the Last Century

In my husband's Wood family, staying in touch was a high priority. Cousins and aunts and uncles sent penny greeting cards to the children for every conceivable occasion. Above, one of the pretty postcards sent to Wallis W. Wood, hubby's uncle, for Valentine's Day in 1912. The sender was Wallis's aunt Nellie (Rachel Ellen) Wood Kirby, who lived in Chicago with her husband, Arthur Kirby. Nellie never spelled her nephew's name correctly on these cards, for some reason.
Thanks to the greeting cards, I can trace the movement of the Wood family from one Cleveland neighborhood to another in between Census years. The head of the family, James Edgar Wood, was a home builder who would construct a house on spec, move his family in, and finish the interior while simultaneously framing another home on spec.

Hubby's father, Edgar James Wood, was a child at the time. He recalled that period in an interview 70 years later, remembering that in one spec house, "the first two floors weren't finished at all, we were living in the attic!" A vivid and not particularly happy memory for him, apparently.

In my family, Mom (Daisy Schwartz) preserved the first Valentine sent to her by Dad (Harold Burk), in February, 1946. It was a traditional, romantic card with ribbon embellishment.

Daisy and Harold had had a whirlwind courtship after he came home from WWII in October, 1945. They were set up on a date by two "matchmaker" aunts, fell in love, and became engaged on the last day of 1945.

Although Daisy and Harold wanted a short engagement, the post-war housing shortage prevented them from finding a convenient, affordable New York City apartment. They had to settle for a wedding date in November, 1946. With so many months to plan, there was enough time for both families to gather in force.

The wedding photos are, 70 years later, a treasure trove of clues to family history. When I asked three of my mother's first cousins to help me identify people in my parents' photos who were unfamiliar to me, they assumed these "unknowns" were "family friends."
They vaguely remembered the names and faces of the "unknowns" but knew nothing else, even though they had been at the wedding in 1946.

When I dug deeper into the names and marriages of the "unknowns," in every case, these wedding guests turned out to be cousins. Cousins of the parents of the bride or groom! These connections led me to finding a lovely group of 2d cousins 1x removed. Now, any time I see a group wedding photo from my family's albums, I don't assume that unfamiliar faces are "family friends." Maybe they're cousins in disguse!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Researching sideways

Researching sideways (as Toni McKeen calls it)--looking for all siblings in each generation and their spouses/in-laws and even extended family members--takes time but it can be very productive. It led me to finding 2d cousins I never knew about!

Here's what happened: my first-cousin once removed really loved her favorite aunt Anna, who married my grand-uncle Sam. I decided to research Anna's family and found that there was no surname message board devoted to her family's last name, so I got permission from Ancestry to start one. That was in June.

Just two weeks ago, I got a note on that surname board from Burt, who told me he's related to Anna's family. He and I exchanged e-mails, I sent him a photo of Sam and Anna, and lo and behold, he gave me the e-mail of my second cousin Gary. Gary and I exchanged e-mails and the next thing I know, Gary's sister Bonnie called me to say how much she enjoyed seeing the photo of Sam and Anna--her grandparents! Plus Bonnie has some family tree info she got from a favorite aunt.

It's wonderful to get acquainted with these long-lost cousins and hear their stories. And it's all because of researching sideways. Gotta do more of that! Thank you, Burt, for taking the time to answer my query. More genealogy adventures are ahead, I'm sure.