Having been raised 1200 miles away from the majority of my relatives I did not get to know most of them while growing. Yes a few would come to visit but those were few and far between. We did move to the area when I was 12 but we moved even farther away when I was 14. After my Father died when I was 19 years old my Mother disowned all of the family (both sides) so I loss contact with those I knew of.
4 years ago my husband and I decided to make a trip to Missouri so I could visit my Father’s grave. I hadn’t been there for over 23 years. I thought since we were going to make the trip I might as well try to find some of my family. I only remembered a couple of names so I started there. I didn’t have much luck which was a little disheartening. After about a week of searching I finally found one cousin on Facebook. I was so excited. I sent her and message and waited. After a week I gave up hope of ever hearing from her. So I began to plan our trip. I pulled up my family tree and started looking at where my Ancestors had lived and where they were buried. I began putting together a list of all the places I wanted to visit. I started searching the names on my list and I discovered a website devoted entirely to my Coffey line. As I was looking through the pages I discovered that there was posted a picture of my paternal Grandparents. I got so excited; I clicked on the link just to be very disappointed. The link was broken. I immediately emailed the lady who ran the website and told her who I was and why I was so desperate to see this picture. When she emailed back I got a tremendous surprise. She was a cousin of mine and she lived in Missouri and she invited us to visit while there. The next day I finally heard from my other cousin on Facebook and we set up a time to meet with her and some other cousins.
Since my trip I have found over 90 “new” cousins online and on Facebook. They have helped me fill in so many blanks that I had in my tree. Not with just names and dates but with stories and pictures and their own memories. If you are blessed enough to have family that is close don’t lose the opportunity to find out about their lives and ask the questions that you need answers to. Listen to the stories they tell and write them down for future generations!